Cape Town woos international BPO players

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 20 Oct 2023
Alderman James Vos, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic growth, interacts with a call centre agent.
Alderman James Vos, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic growth, interacts with a call centre agent.

The City of Cape Town is looking to welcome more offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) industry organisations, amid growing interest from the UK and US.

This is according to alderman James Vos, mayoral committee member for economic opportunities, during an engagement with UK investors and other business leaders in London.

The meeting was part of a high-level trade mission with Wesgro – Cape Town and the Western Cape’s investment promotion agency – and Mireille Wenger, provincial minister of finance and economic opportunities.

In a statement, Vos says Cape Town is open to more offshore BPO sector organisations, after witnessing a surge in demand among corporations in the industry.

South Africa remains a key offshore market for the UK, with 60% of the local BPO workforce delivering services to UK clients, according to industry body BPESA.

Additionally, executives in North America have named South Africa as their most favoured offshore customer experience delivery point, based on the 2023 Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey.

Sometimes referred to as the call centre sector, South Africa’s BPO sector has been tipped as a catalyst in the fight against joblessness, particularly among local youth.

The global BPO market was valued at $261.9 billion in 2022. South Africa accounted for 1% of global revenues during the same period, with estimates indicating this will grow to 4% by 2030.

Cape Town previously revealed its BPO sector employs more than 70 000 people.

Last month, Vos joined Alastair Brass, founder and CEO of Amplify5, for the opening of Amplify5’s new Cape Town office. UK-based Amplify5 helps businesses offshore their operations to Cape Town.

In Cape Town, the company employs about 650 people across its two offices and plans to expand its office space to 4 000 seats, with potential hubs across the metro, notes the statement.

“Amplify5’s expansion in Cape Town is an affirmation of our strong BPO market. The UK is the largest global source market for the BPO industry in Cape Town, with 75% of the international-facing agents servicing UK companies.

“The city has also invested heavily in driving the skills base and infrastructure needed to support this industry,” says Vos.

A recent city-funded programme trained 1 000 young Capetonians for a career in the industry. Among the group were unemployed youth and grade 11 and 12 school-goers from areas including Athlone, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Mitchells Plain. The objective of the project was to provide access to a community-based call centre where learners could gain first-hand exposure to the industry and its opportunities.

“I am excited to show businesses in key source markets why Cape Town is a leading African hub for investment and thus helping to develop more prospects for our communities,” concludes Vos.