- The provincial government of the Western Cape is welcoming "the mounting momentum in the call centre industry" in Cape Town. Thousands of new jobs and large foreign investments have already been secured by this South African province, and the target is to secure 120,000 new jobs in the sector by 2008.
Premier Minister Rasool of South Africa's Western Cape Province today paid tribute to the call centre industry in the provincial capital, Cape Town, which was experiencing a "job and investment boom." The increasing focus on South Africa and Cape Town as a Call Centre or International Offshore Customer Management site was "the outcome of strong lobbying and facilitation by the Premier and Minister Lynne Brown," Mr Rasool said.
The provincial government presented several indicators to verify what it calls a boom. This included the 1000 new jobs secured during the Premier and Minister Browns recent meetings with forty British call centre firms, the opening of the Grintek Telecom premises, providing cutting edge call centre technology and the opening of Dialogue House today. Finally, the second International Offshore Customer Management Conference is to start in Cape Town today, further indicating the city's importance to the sector.
Premier Rasool said that the contact centre and business process outsourcing sector was "one of the fastest growing sectors today in our Provincial economy, employing over 11,000 people, from 7000 three years ago, and growing at a current rate of 25 percent per year. It is a sector in which we have very competitive costs, skills and companies and continue to win international business and investment," he explained.
- At the Provincial Growth and Development Summit last year we and our social partners set ourselves a target of new 120,000 jobs by 2008, the call centre industry has a major role to play in helping us to achieve this goal, said Mr Rasool. The government was also investing in local infrastructure and marketing and "doing all that we can to attract the industry to make it as easy as possible for them to set up business here," the Western Cape Premier said.
During a visits to Britain in August, the Western Cape government had secured "at least an additional 1000 jobs" to the sector, he added. "UK financial services companies are achieving cost savings of around 40 percent while delivering UK performance standards within 6 months of their go-live dates. Companies doing offshore contact centre business report high levels of customer satisfaction, high-performing, motivated agents, and in particular the real ability of South Africans to resolve problems on the first call," Mr Rasool explained.
Last week, the Premier had opened the new Grintek Telecom premises in Cape Town, which provides state of the art technology to the industry as a 47 percent black empowered company. Today, Mr Rasool spoke at the opening of Dialogue House, which houses call centre operations. This operation grew from humble beginnings on one floor of Douglas Murray House to the point where they have now spawned a network of subsidiary companies and conquered the entire building.
The second International Offshore Customer Management Conference starts in Cape Town today. The first was held in India, being the biggest offshore business processing location in the world. "The significance of the industry's selection of Cape Town to host this Conference is exceptionally important to us as it gives us the opportunity to showcase not only the beauty of our setting, but also the skills, infrastructure and competitive advantage that we can offer," said Mr Rasool. Some 150 international delegates are attending the Conference.
- Our competitiveness is improving dramatically, the Premier noted. South Africa's competitiveness had until recently been hampered by a lack of competition in the market. However, at the start of September, the Minister of Communications announced a "big bang" deregulation of the telecoms industry. From February 2005, no less than 500 additional companies will be able to compete for international business.
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