WNS adds PE to its global flagship sites
The Eastern Cape city of Port Elizabeth is fast gaining momentum to become the once-prosperous business hub it used to be, with the establishment of two Industrial Development Zones (IDZs) aimed at generating local and foreign direct investment.
WNS (Holdings) (NYSE: WNS), a leading global provider of business process outsourcing (BPO) services, is one of the first international BPO investors to set up operations in the purpose-built BPO Park, located in the multibillion-rand Coega IDZ.
With over 15 000 employment opportunities already created and investments totalling more than R40 billion, the 11 000ha Coega Industrial Development Zone based in Port Elizabeth is part of the national Department of Trade and Industry's IDZ Programme.
The programme aims to create jobs, encourage skills and technology transfer, promote the development of small, medium and micro-enterprises, as well as increase the foreign exchange earnings through establishing dedicated industrial estates.
According to Johann Kunz, Managing Director of WNS South Africa, the objectives of this initiative are to access new BPO resources while presenting various benefits for the local economy. "The community of Port Elizabeth can benefit from a number of sustainable opportunities presented by the business process outsourcing industry - the main benefit being job creation and skills development, and these are set to increase in the future," he says.
BPO has been identified by government as a priority sector and a key contributor to economic growth. BPO involves contracting a third party provider to take over the operations of a particular company's business functions with the aim of being more efficient. These functions, which include customer interaction services, among other processes, are often delivered from another country. Over the years, South Africa has built a reputation as an attractive delivery location for BPO services.
Tebogo Molapisane, CEO of South African BPO industry body, BPeSA, says South Africa's flexible talent pool, world-class infrastructure, government incentives and a favourable exchange rate presents an excellent opportunity for international companies to outsource their contact centre operations to service providers in the country. "As a result, this not only provides jobseekers with opportunities for employment, but sustainable careers through the skills transfer that takes place.
"With a large portion of the industry's employees comprising school-leavers, these new job opportunities provided by the BPO industry can help to improve the country's ailing youth unemployment figures," he adds.
Kunz says the opportunities available to jobseekers in the Port Elizabeth region will not only be limited to call centre work. "As a BPO destination, South Africa is maturing and we are already providing a range of more sophisticated services, including finance and accounting, procurement, research and analytics as well as human resource outsourcing. Given the high quality workforce found in PE, we can expect these services to be offered from this region too."
Port Elizabeth is centrally located and finds itself on a time zone that is ideal for servicing markets in the United States, Europe, Australia as well as the Far and Middle East. The region offers an attractive value proposition by means of its large English-speaking talent pool, superior ICT connectivity and the access to graduates from the four universities and four technical colleges in the surrounding areas.
Acknowledging that Port Elizabeth is perfectly positioned for providing BPO services to both local and international markets, WNS is committed to supporting the Eastern Cape government's aim to create 20 000 jobs in the next 12 months. "Based on the unique merits of the location, as well as our strategic objectives, it makes business sense to invest heavily in the city's local economy and we look forward to positively impacting the surrounding communities as a result," concludes Kunz.