South Africa: A Business Frontier Rising From Ashes?

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Something extraordinary

South Africa, which has struggled with unemployment, criminality, and grinding poverty, is transforming into an advanced service-based state. Home to 60 million people, South Africa is poised to fill the world’s workforce gaps. The nation—specifically its people—has caught the eye of the world’s largest companies.

In 2022, Amazon Web Services launched its cloud-based contact center solution, Amazon Connect. The following year, outsourcing giant TELUS opened its first center in the country to strengthen its global delivery model. Earlier this year, tech giant Google opened its first cloud site in the region to strengthen its data infrastructure services. 

These are telling signs that South Africa’s digital infrastructure is firmly in place. But what exactly is the country doing to be on the radar of these mighty corporations?

South Africa’s strong business foundations

South Africa has set the right business foundations in the rapidly evolving tech ecosystem. It has created a simple blueprint for success that everyone – especially fellow developing countries – can learn from.

South Africa, which has relied mostly on its mining and transport industry, has diversified its portfolio by investing in the flourishing tech segment. 

This initiative is supported by the country’s English-speaking workforce, which allows it to connect with the West—the center of the tech revolution. 

Additionally, the government’s $30 million investment in its outsourcing industry shows that its leaders know the segment’s potential in relation to the country’s workforce skills. Like the Philippines and India, South Africa offers various tax incentives for outsourcing firms. 

Ready for the future

These solid business fundamentals empower South Africa to protect its workers from AI’s unwanted consequences. They may even have sweetened its position as a robust presence in the artificial intelligence (AI) market.

A study by Pnet’s Job Market Trends report shows that AI roles such as data scientists, data analysts, and data engineers have seen substantial growth over the past year

This development might be what sets South Africa apart from other nations. Amid forecasts of massive layoffs caused by AI, the country is experiencing a surge in demand for AI-related high-value jobs. 

While debates on AI’s impact on the human workforce are valid exercises, we cannot escape the inevitable. As AI becomes increasingly sophisticated, workers should be able to do things that robots cannot do. 

This makes South Africa’s talent pool ripe for outsourcing. Offshore staffing makes South African developers, social media specialists, and even accountants available at great costs. 

As global enterprises focus on core competencies, they can entrust critical back-office tasks to diligent South African workers.

The only way to survive the tech wave is to learn to ride it. South Africa isn’t just ready for AI’s impact; its government and citizens are excited to move forward. 

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About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.