In a world where technology disruptions are becoming the new normal, the African ITO sector has continued to grow. Local ITO firms have developed robust plans to keep operations running smoothly, even when faced with the most challenging circumstances. As a result, the African continent keeps winning over global ITO buyers and providers, largely due to its business continuity abilities.
Tek Experts Nigeria and Rwanda have leveraged Africa’s capabilities firsthand, attracting leading global tech clients. With extensive experience building world-class IT outsourcing centers in Africa, we’re sharing what makes the continent such an attractive ITO destination.
Flourishing IT talent as a business continuity enabler
Africa’s growing pool of available tech talent has become an enabler of Business Continuity (BC) for African ITOs, as it offers a deep pool of people eager to develop and utilize technical skills. This is a refreshing alternative to many markets around the world which have become very saturated, with rapidly increasing wage inflation and high turnover. This has attracted the attention of global buyers who are looking for reliable options.
‘’The availability of IT talent combined with the ability to adapt and evolve in times of unprecedented disruption was a major factor in Tek Experts Nigeria’s successful business continuity during the pandemic,’’ says Olugbolahan Olusanya, Country Manager for Tek Experts Nigeria.
In fact, over 2.1 million graduates from the continent’s top offshoring locations are added to the talent pool each year. Nigeria (600,000), Egypt (507,201), and South Africa (221,942) lead in this respect. Over 200,000 of those are ICT graduates entering the talent pipeline for ITO operators with approximately 62,460 in Nigeria and 2,000 in Rwanda.
To even further expand the talent pipeline, African ITOs are also hiring university graduates with degrees in other disciplines and providing robust technology training programs so they can successfully take on IT roles. Tek Experts Nigeria and Rwanda have adopted this strategy in partnership with our sister company, elev8, which provides digital skills training. AWS has also added to their Training Partner program to help Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) meet its goal of increasing cloud adoption by 30% in the next 2 years.
Estimated Annual ICT Graduates for Top GBS/BPO African Locations:
Source: 2021 Africa GBS Benchmarking & Market Report and IDC
This combination of trainable graduates that can be rapidly deployed into tech roles, ready-to-work ICT degree-holders, and investments in high quality training programs provides capacity and scalability-on-request for global ITO buyers, enabling more sustained BC.
World-class IT infrastructure
Africa is home to some of the world’s most developed tech infrastructure, strengthening the continent’s BC capabilities.
An expansive network of undersea cables has boosted fixed broadband internet speeds in homes and business centers across the continent with speeds ranging from 25.60 Mbps to 53.28 Mbps in the top African ITO locations.
Through well-implemented intra-regional coordination strategies, landlocked African countries are patched into the global network, distributing rapid connection speeds to a growing base of ITO enterprises.
Consequently, the number of internet users across Africa has tripled from 9.9% in 2010 to 33% in 2021. And there has been significant growth in ITO operators across the continent providing software development, application support, coding, and tech helpdesk services to the domestic and international markets.
Reliable and fast connectivity has also fostered the growth of specialized, modern infrastructural hubs, including Special Economic Zones (SEZs), technology parks, and innovation hubs. These facilities have robust IT and utilities, ensuring uninterrupted ITO services and subsequent BC for global ITO buyers.
Some of the most renowned technology hubs that cater to nonstop ITO delivery include Maadi Technology Park (Egypt), Abuja Technology Village (Nigeria), and Konza Technopolis (Kenya). Meanwhile, Rwanda is developing the Kigali Innovation City, a technology cluster that will host domestic and international ITO operators.
Our experience in Nigeria demonstrates the extent to which these hubs deliver. In 4 years of operating with nearly 2,000 staff members, we’ve never experienced an extended outage. As a result, the reliability of our Nigerian office exceeds industry standards.
Ahead of remote working trends
While work-from-home (WFH) has been a growing trend among ITOs for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated its adoption as companies look to ensure BC in the face of potential disasters.
African ITOs have been quick to adapt to this new demand, with many switching to off-premise arrangements immediately after lockdown measures were put in place. In fact, 38% of African software developers currently work remotely for businesses outside the continent. This has given them a significant competitive advantage over other ITO providers in certain regions of the world who are still getting to grips with the complexities of WFH models.
Testament to this is Tek Experts Nigeria’s swift response to the local government’s COVID-19 restrictions. Restricted office use, worker movement and 12-hour electrical supply limits were key challenges that emerged from the local lockdown laws.
Despite the difficulties presented by the COVID pandemic, Tek Experts was able to deliver alternative remote working arrangements within 72 hours, enabling us to maintain full business continuity. The effectiveness of the approach enabled Tek Experts Nigeria to meet increasing demand and, in fact, expand its capacity by 30%, while many competitors were downsizing.
Data security and compliance adoption by Africa’s ITO players
Digitization has accelerated across the continent in recent years, largely driven by the need for solid BC practices. Operators in key African ITO locations, namely Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt, have been quick to conform, adopting secure data storage procedures and implementing stringent security measures to protect customer data.
As a result, 31 out of 55 African countries have data protection laws that align with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the Europe Union. Many African nations are continuously revising their data protection regulations with the express aim of harmonizing their existing privacy laws and frameworks with the European Union data protection and privacy framework.
The implementation of these security measures is also helping to improve the BC abilities of African ITOs. In the event of an outage or disaster, businesses can be confident that their data will be safe and that they will be able to continue operating without interruption.
Business continuity as Africa’s differentiator
African ITOs have demonstrated their abilities to provide BC practices that meet or exceed global standards.
This, in addition to a sophisticated IT infrastructure, the ability to provide talent at scale and the adoption of global data protection and compliance regulations, makes Africa an attractive base for global ITO delivery. As such, buyers and operators should consider using Africa as their base for delivering these services.
Want to learn more? Read our eBook for more insight into Africa’s tech talent which is further enhancing the continent’s excellent BC abilities.