By David Mugabe, Roselyn Karatsi and Raymond Baguma
Uganda is positioning herself to exploit the growing demand for worldwide Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry to address the challenge of youth unemployment.
The minister of Information Communication Technology (ICT) John Nasasira has launched a 240-seater BPO incubation centre which is to be run by three private sector companies employing a total of 210 youths. The companies include Techno Brain, Dial-a-Service and Cameotechedge Services.
A report by Action Aid Uganda released early this year puts the country’s youth unemployment rate
at 62 percent. The report stresses that the unemployed youth are likely to become a source of instability if government doesn’t plan for them early enough.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology, John Nasasira unveiling the Uganda Business Process Outsourcing Incubation Centre at the Statistic House Kampala on September 18, 2013. Photo by Tony Rujuta.
Government has identified the BPO industry as a long-term solution to address youth unemployment and increase investment in IT Enabled Services (ITES).
The BPO incubation centre targets to employ 250 agents this financial year; and at full capacity with three shifts a day, the incubation centre will employ over 750 agents and staff.
According to James Saaka, the NITA-U executive director, there are 50 registered BPO companies operating in Uganda and employing over 4000 youths.
Saaka also said that indirect employment has been created through the provision of services such as catering, transport, cleaning, and accommodation.
He said as one of the ways to market Uganda as a preferred BPO destination, NITA-U has developed a BPO strategy and model for Uganda, developed BPO standards and accreditation guidelines, incentives guidelines, trained 500 BPO agents, and signed a memorandum of understanding with Egypt to train 3000 Ugandan youths in the next two years.
Youths employed at the Uganda Business Process Outsourcing Incubation Centre. Photo by Tony Rujuta.
The BPO incubation centre is located on the 3rd and 4th floors of Statistics House. Nasasira also said that the budding BPO industry will help generate revenue for government as well as Uganda’s competitiveness as a preferred destination for BPO in the East African region.
According to KPMG, the global BPO and IT enabled services market this year is estimated at US$952 billion.
Nasasira said, “On our part, Government is currently developing a conducive environment for the growth of BPO and also forging regional and global partnerships with countries such as Egypt and India.”
Minister Nasasira advised BPO entrepreneurs in the country to maintain a high degree of integrity, standards and explore local outsourcing opportunities in Government, banking, insurance, telecom, and IT sectors.
Some of the people that ensured that the Uganda Business Process Outsourcing Incubation Centre kicks off.
Photo by Tony Rujuta.