Asgi-SA boon to multinationals

14 March 2006

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says the interventions of the government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgi-SA) strategy will create a highly conducive environment for multinational companies to do business in the country.

Speaking at the launch of IBM South Africa’s Integrated Delivery Centre in Johannesburg on Monday, Mlambo-Ngcuka said the role of Asgi-SA was to “listen to the challenges faced by government’s private partners and remove bottlenecks” so as to attract the foreign investment needed for the strategy’s 6% economic growth target to be reached.

“Our challenge is to normalise the cost of doing business and address skills shortages,” she said.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said the government would also invest in foreign languages and the skills required to increase the country’s economic growth in tourism, agriculture and call centres.

She added that South Africa’s call centre sector, an Asgi-SA priority, had already created 5 000 jobs from foreign investment in recent years.

She said the IBM centre complemented the country’s objectives of economic growth, and applauded the company in boosting the country’s infrastructure by developing critical technical skills and creating jobs.

Expanded IBM call centre
IBM, one of the world’s largest information technology companies, announced on Friday that it would that boost employment at its South African call centre by 900 people this year.

The centre, which has been in operation for a year, already employs more than 500 people in providing professional IT services to customers from South Africa, Europe and the US.

The company will invest R24-million over the next 12 months in training programmes to enhance the centre’s skills and expertise base. The money will come from an investment budget of about R300-million set aside for this year as part of the company’s contribution to economic transformation in the country.

IBM South Africa chief executive Mark Harris said the expanded centre would provide “cross-functional support services” such as server installation, support, monitoring, and maintenance.

“This will range from back office support, end-to-end service management, change and problem management, and help desk support in several languages including Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German and English,” Harris said.

“This project demonstrates IBM’s contribution to job creation, skills development and economic growth and is a landmark for IBM’s revolution as a globally integrated company,” Harris added.

“It supports government’s objective of making South Africa a hub for global outsourcing business, and we view this investment in the professional knowledge and skills of our people as vital to the country’s growth.”

Source: BuaNews