South Africa is destination of the year

South Africa’s reputation as one of the world’s most sought-after offshoring destinations has received endorsement from the European Outsourcing Association (EOA), which named the country as its destination of the year.

Last year’s winner was another African country, Morocco. It was honoured along with MEDZ Sourcing, which manages business parks in Morocco that are dedicated to offshoring.

The EOA is Europe’s most important association of professionals and experts in the outsourcing industry, according to AbderrafieHanouf of MEDZ Sourcing. It has over 1,000 corporate members representing national trade associations from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, theUnited Kingdom.

South Africa was a finalist last year, and this year saw off competition from Russia and Serbia to clinch the top spot, and put the continent of Africa on the global map. It also boosts the African brand

The ceremony took place on in Amsterdam. South Africa was entered by the national association, Business Processing enabling South AfricaBusiness Processing enabling (BPeSA), and the award comes hot on the heels of its October, last year’s triumph at the London-based National Outsourcing Association’s yeraly ceremony, where it was voted the UK offshoring destination of the year.

BPESA Western Cape Chief Executive Gareth Pritchard was delighted with the honour, saying it confirmed the quality of service that South Africa offered to its European clients. “Services in other languages, combined with a growing base of high-end skills in financial and legal services, have highlighted the country’s status as a world-class offshoring location,” he said.

Offshoring contributes about $895-million to the province’s economy and employs thousands of people, according to the Western Cape’s minister of finance, economic development and tourism, Alan Winde.

Statistics from the City of Cape Town reveal that the city’s outsourcing industry grew from 20,428 agents in 2007/8, to 27,552 in 2011/12 – a year on year increase of 10.5 per cent.

During the same period, the offshoring sector increased from 2,963 to 4,727 agents. This represents a remarkable yearly growth of 16.9 per cent. Last year, the industry attracted investments of $57-million).

A survey by the international research group Everest Consultancy named South Africa as one of the top three emerging offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) destinations in the world.

Offshoring goes one step further than BPO, which relocates business processes that a company performs in-house, such as accounting or customer call centres, to a third-party service provider, to carry out on behalf of the company.

Outsourcing becomes offshoring when the third-party service provider is located in another country.

South Africa is expected to make steady progress in the offshoring sector in years to come, said senior analyst ParthaIyengar of technology research firm Gartner. He predicted the creation of 40,000 new jobs through offshoring by next year, while the local insourced sector would provide jobs for 120,000 people.

Iyengar said by 2015, he expected offshore contact centre jobs in South Africa to grow over three times the number in 2010.

Firms making use of South African facilities include, among others, British Gas; Amazon; Switzerland’s Edelweiss Air; global outsourcing leader WNS; Bloomberg; Virgin Mobile; Everything Everywhere, which handles communications for the Orange and T-Mobile brands; and British retailer Asda, which has been running its contact centre from Cape Town since 2005.

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