May 25th, 2022
Technology & Industry Services Association (TSIA) hosted their TSIA World Interact conference in Orlando, FL from May 16th to 18th. Among speakers from companies like Amazon, Salesforce, and SAP, Tek Experts presented a 20-minute Q&A virtual techbyte session called 3 Reasons Why Africa is the Next Global IT Outsourcing Hub.
In the session, Gary Bennett, Rwanda Country Manager at Tek Experts, and James Bedford, Global Head of Communications at YNV Group, addressed 5 questions around what makes Africa an ideal IT outsourcing location.
For anyone who was unable to view the session, we’ve summarized the key points below:
1. Africa is a continent of 54 countries, how does this support the needs of global Tech companies as they search for skill and capacity?
Africa is a large continent with roughly 1.4 billion people. With 28% of the population between 18 and 35 years old, and unemployment ranging from 17% – 35% across the continent, Africa has a very young, globally connected population seeking employment opportunities.
There are approximately 790,000 people suitable for the GBS workforce across Africa due to a solid tertiary education system. Rwanda alone produces around 40,000 ICT graduates per year – an impressive amount considering its small population of under 14 million. This is no surprise, as Rwanda is home to 4 of the top STEM universities in Africa.
Additionally, ICT is seen as a priority sector for many African governments. This has resulted in more investments in the industry, including support from the UN and World Economic Forum to boost the growth of IT capabilities and encourage incentive programs for ITO development strategies.
2. What are the key developments that you have experienced enabling the strength of the IT outsourcing industry?
Many African countries have first world infrastructure. 37 of 38 coastal countries have access to undersea network cables and countries inland have impressive fiber cables, providing strong, global connectivity.
From a governance perspective, data protection legislation continues to be an important topic. With European GDPR legislation affecting how outsourced services and support in Africa do business, approximately one third of African countries have regulations mirroring GDPR while other countries are working to implement these regulations.
Another key development is the Fourth Industrial Revolution Center that was recently established in Rwanda in partnership with the World Economic Forum. This was the first of 4 that will be set up around the world, meant to shape new policies and strategies in areas such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things to enable continuous testing, learning, and implementation.
Lastly, there have been huge impacts solely from the impressive performance of African talent. The Tek Experts Nigeria site is the largest of seven, with over 1,600 people. The Tek Experts Rwanda site went live in September of 2021 and has been green on all metrics, sustaining these impressive results faster than any other operation over the last 10 years.
With this well-developed IT environment and phenomenal talent pool, the IT outsourcing industry continues to strengthen and provide exceptional results for clients.
3. What questions do you hear when companies are considering Africa as the next location for their business support?
A lot of questions come from historical perceptions. While the safety, stability, and capabilities of Africa have improved drastically, the external perceptions of Africa have not kept up with these changes. It’s these outdated perceptions that created an environment where people wanted to develop extremely safe communities with stable governments and great infrastructure.
A frequently asked question in relation to talent is around how we close skill gaps. We intentionally develop skills at a leadership level by partnering with training programs. People attend school to learn the basics, but intentional training is required to truly understand the business and successfully solve clients’ queries.
With that in mind, Africa requires demand. While the rest of the world is seeking talent, African talent is seeking opportunities. People are ready and willing to work with a passion and hunger to learn and succeed.
“Everyone else has the Great Resignation, I’ve got the Great Application.”
– Gary Bennett, Rwanda Country Manager at Tek Experts
4. Who are some of the organizations Tek Experts is partnering with in Africa?
The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is especially relevant in this instance.
Tek Experts works closely with governments and NGOs, as well as our sister company, elev8, focused on digital skilling, from entry level to cyber security and leadership.
We also work with our sister company, Wize, focused on career journeys. Wize has a talent management platform, Talentwize, that helps employees track where they are currently in their career and where they want to be. Plus, what learning and development has to happen for them to be ready to enter that role when it becomes available.
5. Why Africa and why Tek Experts in Africa?
The people! African talent is passionate and eager to learn and work. The clean power, solid infrastructure, and strong, global connectivity is an added bonus.
We’ve seen firsthand an extremely positive impact it has on the people who work with us and on the high-quality service we are able to provide to our clients.
For a full recap of the conference, read Top 5 Takeaways from TSIA World 2022 (Hint: It’s All About Talent).
Gary Bennett has worked across Africa for 17 years delivering successful support solutions, people development and leadership programs as well as supporting the growth of the GBS & ITO industry. His experience working and leading in this space results in great knowledge and expertise in the IT and business landscape of Africa.