Outsourcing in Africa
Africa has a growing outsourcing industry with South Africa taking the lead. Although India has the bulk of the outsourcing market for the time being, Africa has offerings that India has no way of providing — Languages. Many European languages are spoken in Africa such as Dutch, French, Arabic, and many others. Although these languages will not attract U.S. outsourcers, they will attract many companies in Europe and the Middle East. Additionally, many African call center workers can learn to speak very authentic British sounding English much better than call center employees in other parts of the world. Speaking with the local accent is one way of gaining popularity with customers.
Political instability, frequent power outages, and poor infrastructure are factors that are detremental to the African outsourcing industry as a whole. But, prices are so low, that for many, its well worth it to tolerate these dangers and inconveniences. As time goes on, African countries are gaining credibility in the international market as reliable outsourcers.
Putting language aside, cultural attributes in Africa can be very helpful in the BPO Call Center industry. Being empathetic to distressed customers comes naturally to many African call center workers, perhaps more so than in other countries.
One area that is very important is broadband internet infrastructure. If a country has good connectivity especially in economic areas, then it can provide efficient and reliable communication services which are key in the call center industry. A year ago, Africa had no fibre-optic vertebrae. The recent building of four underwater cables has increased bandwidth capacity by one-hundred fold and has increased speed and reduced prices for internet usage as well. Currently there are only four million Kenyans with regular internet access, but access is expected to rise with the future sales of 3G mobile phones with internet accessibility.
African outsourcing continues to grow, and in another few years it will become a matured and regular desination for various types of outsourcing. With more global choices available, companies can find the most optimized match for their service needs which makes the world an overall better place.