Industry-Academia Tech Dialogue: Discussing Youth Employment Opportunities through Remote IT Service Delivery

Tech Entrepreneurs Forum
INDAC-TED participants at the auditorium of Academic City University College

India, Mexico, and the Philippines are known prior to the covid19 pandemic as remote service delivery destinations in the world. These countries identified opportunities for creating employment for young people in their respective countries by developing their Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) ecosystem.

Governments all over the world in an attempt to curb the spread and infection rates of the coronavirus pandemic put in regulations to restrict the movement of people. Most organizations, including schools from the year 2020, were forced to adopt remote working or working from home. Although most governments have relaxed the restriction, companies have found the benefits of remote work, particularly IT-enabled functions.

With the knowledge and experience of performing most IT-enabled functions remotely, the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) and its partners are embarking on an initiative to create awareness about the benefits of BPO services as a tool for job creation and large-scale employment. The Institute believes that this awareness and mobilization of the ecosystem players can only be effective if there is a close collaboration between industry and academia.

Academic City University College opened its doors and hosted the 4th Industry-Academia Tech Dialogue that zoomed in on the challenges and opportunities of the Remote IT delivery ecosystem and the readiness of all stakeholders.

Industry-Academia Tech Dialogue (INDAC-TED)

To tackle issues relating to challenges and opportunities in remote IT service delivery and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), a 2-day event was organized by IIPGH and supported by DigiCap project of AFOS Foundation. The first-day event named Tech Entrepreneurs Forum (TEF) was designed for businesses that brought together technology entrepreneurs in the ecosystem that operates in the BPO space.

Tech Entrepreneurs Forum is an event initiated by the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana to provide a networking platform for corporate organizations, SMEs, and start-up organizations to exhibit their products and/or services. The maiden edition was held in February 2019. This year’s event was held at Holiday-Inn Hotel, Airport City, Accra on Wednesday 25th May 2022.

After an engaging event that brought together organizations from both the private sector and government institutions in the BPO space, the focus changed the next day, 26th May 2022. The attention was given to education providers, lecturers, professionals, and students at the ultramodern auditorium of Academic City University College, Haatso-Accra, Ghana.

The fourth Industry-Academia Tech Dialogue (INDAC-TED) focused on how students and young graduates can be prepared to take advantage of job opportunities in the BPO sector. Mr. Lars Johannisson, CEO, Africa, Teleperformance, one of the biggest outsourcing companies in the world, was the guest speaker for the event.

The forum aims at bringing experts and businesses that provide internet service, office space for remote work, technology hubs/parks, BPO service providers, and offshore remote IT services to help shape the conversations on opportunities in the remote service delivery space for technology entrepreneurs and graduates.

Educational Institutions, students, and professionals, therefore, benefited from the discussions and contributions made by the experts drawn from different sectors of remote service delivery.

Before the guest speaker’s presentation, Madam Mawuse Nyavor-Dusi, a Business Development Manager and member of IIPGH presented the overview of IIPGH and encouraged students, lecturers, and other professionals to join the Institute.

This was followed by a brief statement about the DigiCap project by Mr. Mike Loose, International Management Advisor of AFOS Foundation, and Madam Hanna Schlingman, Project Manager, DigiCap Project.

Welcome Address

In his short but very inspiring welcome address, the President & Provost of Academic City University College Prof. Fred McBagonluri expressed his appreciation to the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana and its partners for choosing their beautiful campus for the symposium. He advised the participants to always acquire additional skills that will differentiate them from others.

Prof. Fred McBagonluri, President & Provost, Academic City University College

He explained that French-speaking countries surrounding Ghana mean students graduating with first class in computer engineering alone may not be enough, another student with second class but with basic French proficiency may be preferred if a company wants to extend its services to any of these francophone countries.

“In Academic City, we are going to create the next generation of students who will have the opportunity to do great things from the comfort of their homes, to gain experience locally that they can take globally, to continue to learn, and hopefully this part of the world will experience the next wave of ICT development. Africa’s population is young, Africa’s population is energetic, Africa’s youthful population is hungry to be part of this global technology space and I think this is a good start to make that possible,” he concluded.

Guest Speaker Presentation

The Guest speaker, Mr. Lars Johannisson, CEO Africa, Teleperformance, in delivering his presentation mentioned that the activities of IIPGH are very essential in creating opportunities for young people to get employment.

He revealed that technology has shifted from the old ways of working to cloud campus or remote working. “Everything we are doing is enabled by technology. Currently, the big international brands are having a growing interest in local languages as businesses want to provide services in Swahili, Hausa, Igbo, etc.

This will create BPO service opportunities for these multinationals and young people on the continent will be able to participate in this space. Innovations are coming from Africa to the world which is helping the continent to leapfrog. Mobile Money, for example, started in Africa and a lot of the unbanked population is now connected via the mobile money platform.

There is a big advantage with the current demographics of Africa, which is averagely below 20years old. They are tech-savvy, that will buy everything online and this will drive consumer-based businesses. These businesses will need young people from the continent to serve the growing African market,” Mr. Johannisson noted.

He concluded that Ghana and other African countries would need to fix things such as energy to power devices and industries, transportation, and Internet connectivity not only in the big cities but in other parts of the country that will enable remote service delivery.

Tech Entrepreneurs Forum
Mr. Lars Johannisson, CEO, Africa, Teleperformance

Panel Discussion

To expand the conversation and engage the participants, three experts namely: Dr. Lucy Agyepong, Associate Dean of Engineering, Academic City University College; Mr. Charles Osei, Oracle Territory Manager, Application Sales; and Madam Abena Nyamesem, Senior Manager, Sustainability and Partnerships, GIFEC, joined the guest speaker on stage for the panel discussion. The discussions were focused on connectivity challenges for people in deprived communities to get stable Internet and energy to access decent remote jobs.

The audience engaged the panel, and the symposium ended with a firm commitment from stakeholders to collaborate more towards developing a strong BPO ecosystem.

Panel L-R: Mr. Lars Johannisson, CEO Africa, Teleperformance; Dr. Lucy Agyepong, Associate Dean of Engineering, Academic City University College; Mr. Charles Osei, Oracle Territory Manager, Application Sales; Madam Abena Nyamesem, Senior Manager, Sustainability and Partnerships, GIFEC.

About the DigiCap Project

Tech Entrepreneurs Forum is an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project by the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through sequa gGmbH​, and implemented by AFOS, the German Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation.

As part of the project’s objectives, ICT-related capacity-building programs are organized in partnership with the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) and its partners from the ICT industry in Ghana and beyond. These programs target employment opportunities for young people and how to unlock sustainable jobs in relevant emerging technologies knowledge areas.

This being the 4th edition, Industry-Academia Tech Dialogue (INDAC-TED), a quarterly symposium, has become one of the platforms to discuss issues of skills development and employment. To expand the conversation on job opportunities, the Tech Entrepreneurs Forum (TEF2022) was organized, which highlighted Remote ICT Service Delivery as another area of employment for the youth.

David is the  Executive Director, Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana

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