The Botswana Accountancy College (BAC), with the support of the International Financial Services Centre, launched an education programme on Thursday aimed at positioning Botswana in the field of service delivery.
The programme, which is geared towards training people in the call centers to be internationally competitive, is expected to result in thousands of jobs in the country, luring billions of US dollars spent on call centers annually.
Call Centers around the world are worth around US $ 58 billion and Botswana, which has no trained people and which is also hampered by high telephone tariffs, is presently loosing out in the game.
“We are very excited to be associated with this. We think this way we position Botswana in the service delivery.
“This programme is internationally recognized and is in line with the UK standards,” Chief Executive Officer of IFSC, Alan Boshwaen, said.
BAC has partnered with Ad Excel ÔÇô a UK outfit which is well renowned in the same field.
According to Mike Lesolle, the director of BAC “every effort is being drummed up to find out opportunities that exist.
He said the programme will take three months, divided into three modules and after that one can go into his first degree.
The call centre industry applauded the move, stressing on the point of competitivenessÔÇöas they are eyeing the rich English speaking markets of the USA and the UK.
However, the sticking issue is that of telecommunication tariffs, which are high in Botswana compared to most of the developing countries that are also interested in the development of call centers and Business Processing Outsourcing (BPOs).
But the IFSC is saying that they are currently engaging Botswana Telecommunication Corporation behind the scenes over the issue of tariffs.
“We are working with BTC on issues of bandwidth and also talking about the lowering of tariffs for outbound calls.
“We are also told that Botswana is working on plans of having an undersea cable which will link the country with millions of people in USA and the UK by 2010,” he added.
Some of the issues which are on the table include taxes for the sector, development of voice and data capabilities, including tariffs.
Presently, there are 14 call centers that have grouped themselves under the name Outsourcing Botswana and they employ close to 1000 people. If the proposed moves take off, the number of employees could easily reach 20,000 in the next two years, according to industry sources.