Will Africa Ever Look Like India from an Outsourcing Perspective?

Late last year, I touched off quite a bit of controversy by positioning Africa as more of a tourist destination than an emerging global sourcing powerhouse. At least in some regards, judging by the reactions of those far more expert in African export markets than I am, I stand at least partially corrected. Certainly, Africa is a continent that we'll be hearing far more about in the coming decades -- or at least certain countries within Africa which can manage to stay free of war, famine and general misery. A recent article in the UK's Supply Management suggests that Africa could very well become a major outsourcing hub at some point in the future.

According to the author, Sigi Osagie, "Africa remains under-used as a regional outsourcing hub, so there is significant untapped potential across the continent -- that leaves a sizeable geography just waiting to be utilised more effectively." In addition, "Africa is currently experiencing a resurgence in its global profile, especially in the world political and trade agendas, helped by the efforts of world leaders such as ex-US president Bill Clinton and former British prime minister, Tony Blair." Add to this the emergence of outsourcing operations in Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal and it becomes clear that Africa wants to be a contender -- at least on some levels -- in the outsourcing game. But when -- and whether -- the world look at the African Continent as a rival to India, Malaysia, the Philippines and other longer-established outsourcing center, only time will tell. But here's to hoping that Africa can use outsourcing as a means to promote economic growth, political stability, and a rising and influential middle class.

- Jason Busch

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