Kenya’s BPO Operators Forecast Robust Activity After Landing of Fibre
The outsourcing sector in Kenya will see exponential growth this year, players in the sector have said. Ms Peres Were, managing director Cascade Global, says landing of the fibre optic cables last year has provided the sector with capacity to provide mission-critical IT-enabled services (ITES) from Kenya.
"In previous years, the business processing and outsourcing (BPO) sector in Kenya has suffered many challenges, because most serious international outsourcing companies were not willing to give the country a chance, unless we had fibre optic capacity," she says.
However, since the cables landed last year, the sector has witnessed a lot of interest from top international companies that want to either outsource to Kenya or set-up call centres in the country.
For instance, she says, Cascade Global has entered into a Strategic Alliance Partnership with a USA-based firm, a provider of data infrastructure, technology and outsourcing services. The firm, having seen the potential in Kenya with the fibre optic cable, will now be providing its hosted call centre technology to Kenyan call centres through Cascade Global, she adds.
"Our partner is also currently acquiring three onshore call centres in USA, which have annual BPO projects worth $35 million, and looking at outsourcing some of these contracts to Kenya. The contracts will include areas of customer service, IT outsourcing, finance and accounting among others, to provide a blended solution of both onshore and offshore services," Ms Were says.
Many Kenyan entrepreneurs hope that with the fibre optic cable in place, plus cheap labour, clear accents, and customer fatigue with Indian call centres, the country could hook into the burgeoning call centre and outsourcing industry, worth $130 billion worldwide.
India still dominates the global BPO market at 55 per cent. In the five years to 2008, the country had a cumulative total of 241 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in customer contact centres and shared services centres.