Take another look at BPO – Investment mission to the USA

According to one of the delegates, Mr. Brian Whittaker, CEO of Business Trust, “South Africa’s strengths in the BPO sector play to the US’s needs. South Africa offers a high quality, value-based destination for offshoring business processes, in a stable investment environment supported by world class infrastructure.”

Another delegate, Mr. Mfanu Mfeyela, the CEO of BPeSA (Business Process enabling South Africa – previously SACCCOM) agrees “Our message to investors is that South Africa provides value for money. So we benchmark our delivery and quality against Europe, not against cost base locations.” He notes that “The US accounts for more than 60% of globally offshored business, and as such it’s very important to South Africa as we position ourselves as a preferred offshore location.”

The BPO delegation is promoting South Africa as an investment destination by emphasising three key messages:

  • South Africa offers superior quality combined with high savings potential: Setting up a 1 000 seat centre would provide a saving of over 55% compared to a US operation. As an indication of quality, 95% of first time calls are resolved in South Africa. In contrast, the figure from India is 66%.
  • South Africa has a vibrant industry serving local and offshore customers. Currently approximately 70 service providers serve local and offshore customers – a service that’s supported by excellent business ethics and cultural affinity with the US.
  • Public sector commitment to developing BPO, which includes a five year development programme to enable stakeholders in the public and private sectors to work together to grow South Africa as a preferred BPO location. Initiatives in the programme include incentives and strategic marketing.

Says Keryn House, CEO of ContactinGauteng, the Gauteng regional industry representative organisation, “The growth that we are witnessing in the BPO sector is very encouraging and is a real indication that we have the local capacity and capability to accommodate large outsource contracts by international companies located in the US.”

In addition to promoting the BPO sector, the public-private sector mission will visit New York, Chicago and Detroit to promote investment in the ICT, biotechnology, automotive and financial services sectors.

Iqbal Sharma, Chief Director, International Trade at DTI, who is accompanying the delegation, says that these five sectors were chosen “because that’s where we think the quickest bites will be.”

Says Margaret Dingalo, Stakeholder Relations Director at the International Marketing Council of South Africa (which has partnered with the DTI to host this Mission) “The global BPO sector looks set to grow by 50% a year over the next 5 years. Our US investment drive showcases the boundless possibilities available to investors in South Africa. We believe that such initiatives will help achieve South Africa’s 6% growth target, as well as enhance our tourism, trade and investment prospects ahead of 2010.”

Itinerary and additional information

  • The South African delegation will be in the USA from 17-23 March during which time it will visit New York, Detroit and Chicago.
  • A seminar entitled ‘Outsourcing to South Africa’ is taking place on 19 March in New York. Speakers include the Minister of Trade and Industry Mr. Mandisi Mpahlwa – Keynote address; Dr. Raymond Ngcobo, Chief Director at DTI – South Africa’s BPO value proposition; Mr. Mfanu Mfeyela, CEO of BPeSA – Achieving excellence through quality assurance in the BPO industry and Mr. John Joseph, Executive Product Manager at Telkom – South Africa’s Telecommunications Environment. Three case studies will also be presented – Dimension Data (by Director, Mr. Martin Dove); Direct Channel (by CEO, Mr. Suleman Shaik) and Business Connexion (by Director, Mr. Sydney Ramutla).
  • Some BPO delegates are going to the Gartner Outsourcing Summit in Dallas, Texas from 20 to 21 March, where they’ll have the opportunity to network with global outsourcing players.
  • The BPO sector in South Africa is well established across a number of vertical industries, yet is rapidly expanding to accommodate increasing interest in outsourcing. Most BPO hubs are located in the urban centres of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. The City of Johannesburg in the province of Gauteng has the highest number of call centres at more than 360 employing some 35000 call centre agents in outsourced and captive (in-house) call centres in ICT, financial services, banking, tourism, hospitality and business-to-business. Over the past two years the industry has shown significant growth, with some call centres having doubled capacity through the creation of some 2000 new jobs. Back office administration, document processing, and logistics management centres have also increased, with the emergence of several new entrants in the market.
  • Government has earmarked R1bn in investment incentives over the next five years to lure international business services to South Africa. The plan, which was launched by Trade and Industry Minister, Mr. Mandisi Mpahlwa in Pretoria yesterday, is expected to translate into 100 000 new jobs by 2009 and attract about $175m in foreign direct investment.
  • Organisations that are part of the delegation include: Accenture, BizWorks, Business Connexion, Business Process enabling South Africa (previously SACCCOM), Business Trust, Calling the Cape, City of Johannesburg, ContactInGauteng, Deloitte, Dialogue, Digital IQ, Dimension Data, Direct Channel Holdings, Direct Marketing Association of South Africa, Emmanuels, Fastcomm, IBM, I-Fundi Customer Solutions, INFORCOMM, IT-Consortium, Kelly, KZNonSource, Matlejoane Staffing Services, NAPS, Paladin Consulting, People Solutions, Phillips Consulting, Quest Flexible Staffing Solutions, SA Call Centre Solutions, SPM Direct, State Information Technology Agency, Telkom and Total Relationship Management.

Ends

Issued by: Meropa Communications
On behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry and the International Marketing Council of South Africa

Enquiries
For more information about the mission, or to schedule interviews, please contact:
Claire Taylor or Pamela Dlamini: Meropa Communications
Telephone: 011 772 1000, Email: Claire Taylor or Pamela Dlamini