The Philippines, India and China have lost traction as the world powers in the Business Process Outsourcing domain. While these countries are trying valiantly to recover from loss of contracts and higher running costs, various other destinations across the world are gaining recognition on the BPO map.
The new BPO destinations
According to the Tholons ‘2013 Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations Report’ Middle Eastern and African countries including Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritius, Turkey and Kenya have entered the coveted, elite list.
The physical infrastructure in these countries has received a boost from their Governments solely to increase BPO feasibility. The political and economic conditions have been greatly improved.
As these countries gain recognition as a popular BPO destination, the number of people eligible for employment is also on the rise. Currently the Middle East and Africa has a total of 145 million employable population, the number is set to double at 278 million by the year 2050.
Apart from the outsourcing industry, there are a number of other industries flourishing in the area spurring on the economy. The gas and oil industry along with a few new industries pushed the GDP of the area up by an annual 5 % over the past decade.
The Middle Eastern / African advantage
With human resources diminishing and the running costs of operations in destinations like India cutting into the bottom line profits, the BPO clients are looking towards other destinations. Latin America, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe are fast becoming popular destinations to set up offshore companies.
Like other destinations, African and Middle East countries have the same appeal of low cost resources including cheap but skilled labor. The major advantage for these countries however is the timeline. Being located in a time zone that is very close to the time zones of the biggest economies (Europe, Asia and North America) causes a smoother, seamless running of operations.
Business in the Middle East has been reaching heights that nobody could have predicted. With this boom in business came a need for technical support and other services in the Middle Eastern languages. Native Arabic speakers have found a niche in the outsourcing industry like never before.
Also the governments in these countries has been making dedicated efforts to see through the establishment of BPOs. It would, therefore not be a stretch to call the Middle East and Africa the next big BPO destination in the making.
South Africa has seen an increase in outsourcing activity as some multi-national companies and major players have established offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town.
Ghana’s government has declared its support for the industry through creating funds and supporting startups in every which way.
Morocco has established BPO parks.
Turkey and Egypt have failed to cash in on the oncoming BPO trend due to prevailing geopolitical and political tensions.
Kenya has thus far focused largely on the telemarketing and customer care, failing to cash in on the incoming trend of other avenues.
Mauritius has a lot of things going for it. The bilingual, service oriented culture creates a conducive environment for the establishment of BPOs. Being well situated, with a stable economy and a political environment that is stable only adds to the attractiveness of Mauritius.