The International Finance Service Centre (IFSC) is organizing a Call Center conference next month with the aim of shoring up the image of the country in the eyes of the global market.
The IFSC, whose intension is to attract foreign direct investment into the country, is trying to engage potential investor to consider Botswana against rising competition in BPO (call center) industry which is globally worth US $57 billion per annum.
“The primary objective of the conference is to try to educate people about the business of BPOs,” IFSC’s Business Development Officer, Moraki Mokgosana, said.
Botswana aims to tap into the one-third of the world’s populationÔÇöthat speaks English ÔÇô but its efforts are expected to encounter competition from other developing countries such as South Africa and India.
Globally, India and South Africa are fast attracting a lot of investment in call centers followed by countries such as Ghana, Kenya and, of recent, the rising giant of east Africa, Rwanda.
Rwanda, through the help of Investment Climate Facility (ICF), an orgaisation assisting the behaving developing countries and World Bank are splashing billions into that country so that it can recover from the woes of genocide. MTC, a global telephone company, and the International Finance Corporation signed a US$ 360 million deal last month to upgrade the telephone network in Rwanda.
“We are supporting Rwanda in a number of areas including the ICT. We would like to make it a model of success in Africa,” the Chief Executive Officer of ICF, Omari Issa, said.
In Botswana, the industry is thought that it can create up to 7000 new jobs but, according to studies carried out so far, there are some serious challenges. Some of the challenges include lack of understanding of call center business by the political leadership, lack of financing and poor telephonic infrastructure in the country. However, it is hoped that the planned undersea cabling will increase the chances of Botswana being connected to the world at reasonable prices.
“The conference will bring together a group of interested parties in BPO. And at the same time we would like to set up the industry standards which will be packed against the internationally accepted standards,” the chairperson of Outsource Botswana, an organization of call centers and other interested parties, Constance Matabiswana, said.
BPO is a very sensitive industry and includes services like the application of credit cards for customers and general assistance and could ruin the lives of customers if rogues infiltrated it.