For the past two years, South Africa has been ranked number two as the top global location for business process services. Fast forward to the pandemic the country has outperformed India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Poland, Egypt, and Northern Ireland, to take the top spot for the first time. According to Annual Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey, this rating is based on the country’s reputation as a dependable, economical, and high-grade destination for business services.
The placement in the survey means that South Africa has been graded as the top global location for business process services. The business services sector includes call centres, technical support, and back and front office services for multinationals and South African firms. According to a study titled Driving economic recovery in South Africa’s BPO industry by McKinsey &Company, while lockdown measures to contain the Coronavirus compromised business continuity globally, South African contact centres were quick to adjust and migrate to remote working conditions and were able to remain operative with minimal disturbance for clients.
In February 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that part of the government’s priority solutions was an employment stimulus to create jobs to help sustain livelihoods. He mentioned that there were 1.7 million fewer people employed in the third quarter of 2020 than there were in the first quarter, before the pandemic struck. A part of the solution to this predicament lies in the growing of opportunities in the business service sector.
In a statement released by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, Minister Ebrahim Patel noted that the South African business services sector is set to experience even higher growth rates in the years ahead. The industry has set its sights on supporting employment and investment by growing the export segment of the business services sector to employ new workers in the next few years.
The ranking on the business services sector list exposes South Africa to a number of opportunities that can be used as a stepping stone to appeal to international markets for expansion. The continuous efforts of building on its good reputation and flexibility has demonstrated in recent months that with strategic thinking and its ability to forge through trying times, the industry can cement itself for further progression beyond the crisis.