Offshore BPO outsourcing in South Africa set to grow

by oneafrikan on February 2, 2005

Background reading: Press release from CallingTheCape.

Well – this is certainly good news: investment of R380m in the Western Cape call centre industry, with 2000 new jobs. And from the press release, that’s set to be matched this year, hopefully with an additional global outsourcer developing operations in Cape Town. A somewhat larger target of 25, 000 jobs between 2004 and 2008 has been set by the city, with funding being allocated towards CallingTheCape to – reflecting commitment towards CallingTheCape and satisfaction with results to date.

Looking at this, it’s really wonderful to see how things have changed over the last few years. Interestingly enough, Luke Mills, executive director of CallingTheCape, is an Englishman, and I do think that exactly this has a large part to play in the success of the body, and perhaps to a large extent, the growth of the industry in Cape Town.

But, in order to grow more and become recognised as a viable alternative to India and other providers, the government needs to start investing in technology infrastrucure, education (skills largely) and selling Cape Town as an alternative to the international market. Bottom line is that the costs in SA are relatively cheap, but I dare say not cheaper than India et al – so there has to be a point of differentiation which sets SA apart as an offshoring alternative. This differentiator, I believe, is in the service that can be provided, the time zone, the language similarity and the culture. But more on that in another post.

I said above that there needs to be investment – the deregulation of the telecomms in SA this week, the start of legal VoIP and the rush to that proverbial goldmine, and the continued growth of broadband in SA are all good signs of a maturing industry in a maturing and largely stable economy.

The question is, can SA cut it in the global economy?
I know well of one business that set up an offshore call centre in SA for the UK market, and they ended up coming back to the UK because Telkom couldn’t deliver on their service level agreements – the volumes were high and they just couldn’t deliver. I know that there are a lot of players that are going to enter the market, but this is the kind of problem they will all face – if a call centre has 5, 000 calls a day, can they handle it? What if it get’s to 8, 000? Will the cowboys who enter the market early deliver on initial promises?, and thus keep the integrity of the industry and opportunities for future growth intact? or not? It’s hard to say right now – the press release says some good things, and at least one big gun is going to have to enter the market before others jump on the next ship to SA – who will it be?, and when?

Who can say, but we all know that the path to the top of the mountain starts with a single step. I know South Africans, and I know they can do it if they really want to.


I read your blog on outsourcing. This blog is quite informative for my business, even I have blog on outsourcing so can we exchange the links to share our knowledge resources.

by bhavna on April 10, 2005 at 8:10 pm. Reply #

[…] it to you the way it happened so it’s chronological: I write a blog post on “Offshore BPO outsourcing in South Africa set to g […]

by » Blog Archive » Some people just don’t get blogging on April 11, 2005 at 2:54 am. Reply #

Nice information on BPO business in SA.

by Outsourcing on July 28, 2005 at 2:13 am. Reply #

Thanks ;-)

by Gareth Knight on July 28, 2005 at 2:31 am. Reply #

Good blog.

I recently migrated back to South Africa from the UK after working for a company based in the UK. My primary function was to source global quality control houses. After hunting the planet I ended up in good old south africa. I travelled from Mauritius to Barbados to India to Czech Republic. In this process I never found a single company that could match that of the quality that South African companies.

I entertained the thought of one or two of the major players in South Africa, but found that they were more “advertising” than actually providing proper BPO & O solutions.

I resigned my position with the company and jumped on a plane the next day back to a freezing cold Johannesburg.

9 weeks later I have a complete BPO & O solution set up operating in 3 of the major SA centres. 1 Week later I have signed up an initial R500k a month contract which moves in to top gear and moves to well over R4m a month.

What i am actually looking for is a website where i can market my concept to the world. I want to target the states as my centre currently runs a 24/7 service.

Can anyone assist or contact me with any information.


Gerald Groenewald
Chief Executive Officer
BPO Group Southern Africa

by Gerald G Groenewald on July 11, 2007 at 8:02 pm. Reply #


Thanks ;-)

If you send me your email address I can put you in touch with some people in SA that might be able to help…

by Gareth Knight on July 12, 2007 at 12:23 pm. Reply #

i have come to know this great oppurtunity and i am very much ambitious to work with bpo industry of cape town.

by sahil on August 1, 2007 at 5:20 am. Reply #

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