Govt to create 100,000 jobs for youths through business process outsourcing

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Govt to create 100,000 jobs for youths through business process outsourcing
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The Ugandan government is banking on its comprehensive Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) strategy to create 100,000 direct jobs by 2030.

This ambitious plan aims to tackle the country's youth unemployment crisis, with approximately 10 million young people aged between 18 and 30 outside of formal education, employment, or training.

"Business process outsourcing and information technology outsourcing offer a generational opportunity to address the youth unemployment crisis in Uganda," said Irene Karungi Sekitoleko, ICT Infrastructure Development Department at the Ministry of ICT and National Guidence.

The strategy, formulated by the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance identifies five key opportunity zones for job creation; strengthening and growing the domestic core, attracting African homegrown operators, winning overflow work from maturing delivery hubs, serving under-tapped source markets, and serving traditional source markets.

"Uganda has a fastest-growing BPO and ITO market in Africa, with operating costs that are 60-70% lower than key source markets," said Sekitoleko.

"We also have a talent pool of approximately 145,000 young people proficient in B2 English and neutral accents, making us an attractive destination for BPO and ITO investors."

The plan highlights Uganda's competitive advantages, including its stable macroeconomic environment and close cultural affinity with established source markets.

The government has established working groups to oversee the implementation of the strategy, focusing on ecosystem coordination, demand generation, human and organizational capabilities development, and operating environment improvement.

"Digitization, outsourcing, and remote work megatrends are reshaping the nature of work, allowing individuals to provide services to clients around the world from virtually anywhere," said Sekitoleko.

"This strategy will enable Uganda to win work in BPO and ITO, generating income for young Ugandans on a large scale and positioning Uganda as a leading BPO and ITO destination in Africa."

The strategy aims to create 150,000 jobs, including indirect employment opportunities in support staff, transport, office supply, retail, telecoms, and cleaning services.

The strategy also targets attracting African homegrown operators, winning overflow work from maturing delivery hubs, serving under-tapped source markets, and serving traditional source markets.

"Uganda holds a compelling advantage in persuading multinational operators with strong African connections to establish operations in the country," said Sekitoleko.

"Fully loaded monthly costs for contact centers are 8% cheaper in Uganda than neighboring Kenya, 38% lower property rental costs compared to Kenya, South Africa, and Morocco, and a 55% larger domestic BPO and ITO market than Rwanda."

The government is optimistic about the potential of this strategy to transform the economy and create opportunities for young Ugandans.

"We are confident that this strategy will drive economic growth, create employment opportunities, and position Uganda as a leading player in the global BPO and ITO market," said Sekitoleko.

Shirley Nakyejwe, a senior IT officer at the ICT Ministry said the sector aims to create employment opportunities and enhance workplace efficiency.

“Uganda's government seeks to capture a significant share of the global Information technology-enabled services (ITES) outsourcing market by 2040, supporting BPO activities through policy implementation and regulatory frameworks,” she said in a detailed presentation.

According to Christopher Yiiki, senior IT officer at the Ministry of ICT and national guidance, the BPO policy seeks to make businesses more accessible to the grassroots level.

“We are trying to do this through creating innovation hubs…and so far, we have already put one at Kabale University, Soroti University, and Muni University in Arua,” Yiiki explained.

These innovation hubs currently host over 400 dynamic and young innovators whose ideas will attract development partners.

Gideon Nkurunungi, CEO of the Information Communication and Technology Association of Uganda (ICTAU), emphasized the need for integration with the digital transformation roadmap by the private sector to fully leverage the opportunities specific to BPO services.

“The BPO market has evolved from conventional BPO competitiveness to current digital competitiveness, emphasizing the need for integration with the digital transformation roadmap by the private sector to fully leverage the opportunities specific to BPO services,” Nkurungi said.

“ICTAU is committed to reshaping this landscape through capacity engagements at all levels. We have identified various BPO opportunity areas, categorized into low cost/low complexity, low cost/high complexity, and high cost/high complexity sectors. This strategic engagement with the Western Region illustrates the potential for Uganda’s BPO industry to thrive, driving economic growth and creating employment opportunities across the region. By focusing on key areas such as BPO, Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO), and other high-value services, we are paving the way for a robust and competitive digital economy in Uganda.”

George Bagambe a natural resources officer for Mbarara district asked the developers of the policy to factor in how to address the increasing cyber crimes.

The regional stakeholder engagement for Ankore subregion, held at Adit Mall in Mbarara City, brought together Sub County chiefs, Sub County chairpersons, Information Technology Officers of districts, and cities to discuss the BPO policy.

Once approved by the cabinet, the policy is expected to create a significant number of jobs and boost Uganda’s economic growth.

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