Absa to open call centre at Coega

5 August 2008

Local banking group Absa has become the first investor at the Coega Industrial Development Zone’s business process outsourcing (BPO) park, announcing plans to open a 105-seat outbound call centre.

In a statement this week, Coega Development Corporation (CDC) business development director Khwezi Tiya said the project had come just as the company was making a concerted effort to lure more investors to the BPO park.

“We are proud to have convinced Absa to locate the project here for maximum benefit,” said Tiya, adding that adding that it was the company’s solutions-driven approach to servicing potential investors was key to bringing the project to fruition.

“From the outset we expected positive to excellent results from this project and our value proposition has been proven correct.”

A pilot of the Absa contact centre has been running at Coega since January this year, and the CDC is also in talks with other international companies to take up prime space in the massive BPO park planned for the zone.

Combining business and social imperatives

The outbound facility currently employs 105 people – the majority of whom were previously unemployed or had very little work experience – mainly from nearby townships of Motherwell, Zwide, Kwazekhele and New Brighton, and Absa Contact Centre head Andy Rigg said the success of the project confirmed the bank’s strategy of combining business with social imperatives.

“The results are very exciting and we are not surprised because that is what you get when like-minded people gather in pursuit of a common objective,” said Rigg, referring to the bank’s partnership with the CDC.

The initiative was aimed at doing business in a responsible way that enables people to uplift themselves through employment and business opportunities, with a key focus was on affording work experience to unemployed individuals.

“This project delivers hugely on customer-centricity as well,” Rigg said. “The operation enhances Absa’s offerings by using a skills profile that customers can relate to with regards to language, accessibility, maturity and excellent service standards.”

Making a positive social impact

Although configured to provide an end-to-end service to customers needing short term lending products, the contact centre is also geared towards making a positive social impact in the economically depressed areas of the Eastern Cape.

The close proximity of the project to the said townships ensured more economic benefits to the region and local infrastructure and skills base in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality was utilized to the fullest.

There was also a good degree of knowledge and skills transfer to support and uplift the local business community, said Rigg.

“The CDC provided all the necessary services to make the location viable for the call centre,” he said. “These services range from human capital to world class information communication technology facilities, all key to the success of a call centre.”

SAinfo reporter

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