, What are the opportunities for young Africans in the Business Process Outsourcing industry?
Opportunities abound in BPO for young Africans as this service industry is one of the biggest platforms for youth employment and empowerment. One of our long term focus as a business is to establish Africa as the next global destination for BPO due to the huge population of literate and talented exuberant youths. Coupled with our unique business ideology of “bringing IP to work” i.e. on-shoring as opposed to offshoring where work is taken to other global destinations, we employ African indigenes wherever we have foothold, train them rigorously by a handful of expatriates with exceptional technological knowhow, till they become adept at the skill, and ensure resources are not only kept, but increased progressively within the African ecosystem. With this on-shoring practice, it shouldn’t be difficult to have staff strength of 20,000 by 2020.
ISON has operations in a number of Africa countries. How are BPOs in the continent competing against counterparts in parts of Asia?
The services industry in Africa is still at infancy stage generally and the BPO is practically non-existent when compared with the scale that obtains in Asia. Presently in Africa, the on-shoring phenomenon is a huge opening waiting to be mined, especially with on-shoring in mind as opposed to the traditional off-shoring practice.
Kindly briefly share with us about ISON’s youth initiatives and about Girl Connect
In order to address the challenge of vulnerable youth employment detailed in the African Economic Outlook, iSON deliberately positioned its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy on a strong local & youth-centric platform, to univocally promote the cause of disadvantaged youth. This aligns with the three key pillars of the African Youth Decade 2009-2018 Plan of Action focusing on accelerating youth empowerment for sustainable growth in Africa.
We are building our CSR pillars on several thrusts, two of which are; committing 5% of our job quota to the marginalized youths who are either differently-enabled or resident in some of the orphanages and care agencies. To this purpose we have partnered with NGOs such as Samasource, SOS Children’s Village in Nigeria, Uganda Youth Development Link and Project Akhilah in Rwanda etc., to ensure we recruit a steady crop of talented graduate youths from these agencies. We encourage and focus on creating large scale employment which is not exploitative but provides dignified livelihood and point the youth in the right direction to enable them play constructive roles in nation building which also creates a multiplier effect on the economy.
Secondly, we operate in Category B cities in the countries of foothold, to ensure development in these often neglected parts of the society. Due to the increasing rate of urbanization in Africa, traditionally, there is a high level of exodus into the more already strained urban cities by youth in search of the proverbial Golden Fleece. With our business model, this doesn’t have to be the case, as the category B cities have favorable opportunities for development through the establishment of our world class call centre facilities with the attendant result of blossoming ancillary industries.
These unique practices have earned us two awards recently from the Great Place To Work organization under the Bright Spot category, namely for “Best Practices” and exceptional “CSR”.
This equally makes our partnership with Girl Connect, a marriage of opportunities as the whole idea is to reframe the values and belief systems of girls, thus empowering them and preparing them for the successful and bright future they are more than capable of. This is because we believe in them and in the power of youth. This is where ICT meets social development and inclusion.
We were therefore very glad to celebrate this tripartite arrangement with GE (Girl Effect) and Facebook during the side reception held alongside the WEF in Kigali, Rwanda.