World Bank Frees Funds to Support Call Centres industry in Kenya

Telecoms

Call centres will start drawing financial support from the Government next month as part of a Sh78 million project supported by the World Bank.

The bank has released the money under the Transparency Communication and Infrastructure Programme (TCIP), which will also support the e-government projects, meant to take public sector services to the grassroots through ICT.

The subsidies to the business process outsourcing centres would start on March 15, said ICT board deputy chief executive officer Victor Kyalo. The ICT board is implementing the programme.

The ration is the second part of a Sh114.4 million World Bank Transparency Communication and Infrastructure Programme (TCIP). Mr Kyalo said the board was evaluating how operators would benefit from the subsidy.

"The purpose of offering subsidy to the BPO sector is to make them competitive in the global market, the World Bank has made the money available now" said Mr Kyalo. The operators are now shackled with high interconnection charges. With the subsidy, however, they will pay $500 per megabyte per month leaving the government to pay an extra $1,200 to broadband bandwidth service providers.

Initial indications are that the subsidy will benefit BPOs that have been in operation for at least three months and have ongoing contracts with bandwidth providers, clients and employees.

Kenya's reliance on the satellite links for communication has made BPO services costly paying as much as $1,700 in monthly bandwidth unit costs compared to $250 per unit in competing nations like India and Philippines. The BPO operators will benefit from the subsidy until the undersea cable is available in the region.

Business Daily