Calls for policy to tap into multi-billion dollar BPO market heightens


A comprehensive policy on business process outsourcing (BPO) is essential in harnessing exponential growth in remote working options and the opportunities they present, Executive Director of the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH), David Gowu, has proposed.

Speaking to B&FT on the side-lines of the Tech Job Fair’s 6th edition in Accra, Mr. Gowu stated that such a move would prove critical in reducing employment, increasing government revenue and driving innovation.

With value of the global BPO market revenue expected to grow at an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7 percent from 2022 to approximately US$293billion by 2029, he is optimistic that such a policy will position Ghana as the go-to market on the continent – especially as deeper integration is sought under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“We must have a policy on business process outsourcing or remote work; a policy that will help stakeholders understand how to do business in Ghana and connect our young people to opportunities across the globe, and ensure that they are not cheated but given a fair income,” he said.

Concerns have been raised about how governments can effectively tax remote workers, particularly those operating in the gig economy – temporary and part-time positions filled by independent contractors and freelancers rather than full-time permanent employees; but the IIPGH Executive Director believes that a policy in that direction will lead to innovation in the local tax framework and boost government revenue.

Remote work gained traction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has become a mainstay in many economies.

Data from the World Economic Forum (WEF) show that since the pandemic’s onset, remote work has gained acceptance globally. In the US, 52 percent of all workers and 72 percent of office-based workers worked from home between October 2020 and April 2021. In Europe, the number of remote workers increased from 5 percent to 12.3 percent.

While growth has not been the same in Africa, the trajectory has been the same. A study published in 2022 suggested that as much as 42 percent of employees on the continent work remotely at least one day in a week; a figure expected to increase exponentially as more business operations become automated.

Responding to concerns that recent lay-offs in the tech world will serve as a disincentive for younger persons’ venturing into tech-related jobs, the Provost and President at Academic University City College, Professor Fred McBagonluri, said the current wave of lay-offs is an outlier.

He added that the versatility of tech skills ensures that persons who possess them are among the most sought-after on the job market, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

“We are far from experiencing a saturation in the tech space, especially in Africa. What has happened recently must be looked at within the context of the recent boom. Ultimately, tech skills can be applied to a variety of areas; so there should be no cause for alarm,” Prof. McBagonluri, who is also the Board Chair of IIPGH, explained.

Project Manager at the AFOS Foundation – a sponsor of the Fair, Hanna Schlingmann, reiterated calls to provide training in tech skills that are future-proof.

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