Remarks by the KwaZulu-Natal MEC Economic Development and Tourism, the honourable Michael Mabuyakhulu on the occasion of the welcoming breakfast for MKI Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) students returning from internship in India
5 Aug 2011Programme Director
The Honourable Counsul General Of India, Mr Anil K Sharan
Ladies And gentlemen
All protocol observed
It gives us pleasure as the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism to be part of this grand occasion where we are meeting to celebrate the return of students from India who are poised to play a critical role to change the economic fortunes of our province, particularly in the information and communication techn ology (ICT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sectors.
Programme director, we believe today is a day that is special not only to the students whom we are receiving and their parents, but to the whole province of KwaZulu-Natal. We say this because in the arsenal of our skilled personnel we now boast a cadre of young people whom we have no doubt that they will do their bit to ensure that the BPO sector becomes one of the critical areas of growth in the province.
For this we are eternally grateful to the government of India which has opened its arms and allowed our students to immerse themselves in their well of knowledge in the BPO and ICT sectors. This south-south gesture of cooperation is yet another practical example of what can be achieved if countries from the developing world work together.
As many of you are aware, India and South Africa are engaged, side by side, in many battles in the global arena, including the transformation of multi-lateral institutions such as the United Nations and the Brettenwood institutions.
Programme director, the Moses Kotane Institute was established by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism to respond to the desperate need to create opportunities for skills development in our province. As all of us know one of the structural challenges which have been identified by the New Growth Path as preventing our country from achieving economic growth is the issue of lack of skills.
According to the expanded definition of unemployment, at 37%, our country has one of the highest unemployment rate in the world, thanks to a slew of legislations from the apartheid era which relegated many of our people to the fringes of economic activity.
Programme director, Business Process Outsourcing and ICT are the fastest growing skills development areas in the developing world today. It is easy to train people in these areas and once trained and experienced, people can move up the employment ladder rapidly and create job opportunities for others through small and medium enterprises. BPO is especially suitable for interactions between small and large businesses to occur at local and international levels.
According to research, the global business outsourcing industry has been growing steadily over the last few years. It is expected to reach an estimated $181 billion by 2012 (versus $115 billion in 2008). This presents a growing rate of over 11 percent per annum.
This shows that the BPO industry, in an environment where global recovery from the recession has been sluggish, will continue to play a critical role to drive economic growth. This is evidenced by the fact that, according to research which was done by the Department of Trade and Industry, the South African BPO industry currently employs more than 30 000 people and has been growing at 33% per year.
Programme director, this rosy outlook about the role of BPOs and ICT is also replicated at a continent level. According to the India based consultancy Avasant, Africa is the next biggest growth area for BPOs. Boasting a one billion population, Africa has all the prospects of being a force to be reckoned with in this industry.
This is evidenced by the fact that over the past five years, Africa’s cellular market had grown 5000% to over 400 million subscribers. The continent also has the fastest growth ICT market in the world. The World Bank estimates that the continent will draw over $90billion a year to support growth and development. Programme director, these figures confirm one thing that with regional integration dominating the economic discourse on the African continent, BPO and ICT are one of the industries that will be a fillip for accelerated economic growth.
Today we celebrate the successful story of young people, who joined the Moses Kotane Institute’s programme as unemployed youth. They chose to do the right thing improve their skills and play a role in the country’s economic development.
They spent a year studying and training to become proficient in BPO. They spent another year sharpening their skills while engaging with the global players in business. They did the former at home and succeeded against the odds of poverty and deprivation, relying on a scholarship that provided for tuition only. We appreciate the supportive role played by their trainers, parents and other supporters in South Africa.
The role of the global player in BPO training, NIIT, is much appreciated. The willingness of uMfolozi Further Education and Training (FET) College management to allow the Moses Kotane Institute to open a training center on their campus is also highly commendable. By giving our students an opportunity to realise the dream of their lifetime, you did not only give them international experience, but you also provided the Moses Kotane Institute with international exposure. We truly appreciate the role played by the Indian Consulate and government in making this initiative the great success it turned out to be.
We believe that the learners have sharpened their skills through the Indian experience of 12 months and are ready to tackle any BPO challenge. In this context, we appeal to the business sector in South Africa to pledge their support to employ these young people and provide them with mentorship that will allow them to grow into small businesses owners who can employ others in the communities where they live.
On behalf of the Ministry and Department of Economic Development and Tourism in KwaZulu-Natal, the Moses Kotane Institute, we wish to welcome back home, the first batch of MKI students to complete international internships. You have opened the way for numerous young adults who are coming behind you.
The Moses Kotane Institute aims to train 10 000 unemployed youth and young adults, including 5 000 BPO experts, by 2013. We hope that you will live up to our expectations of proving that economic development is possible through skills development. We look forward to you opening your small and medium enterprises in celebration of a better future for all.
I thank you all.
Source: KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development and Tourism
5 Aug 2011
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