Outsourcing for Impact in Africa

April 17, 2023 / BY / IN Uncategorized

Business process outsourcing (BPO) is when companies contract third-party service providers to perform specific business tasks or functions. BPO has become an increasingly popular option in Africa and globally for businesses looking to improve their operations. BPO can reduce unemployment in Africa by creating job opportunities in the service sector. With average unemployment at an all-time high of 7.62% against a global average of 6.57% (www.macrotrends.net), offshore outsourcing by companies in the West could significantly reduce graduate unemployment in some of the more urbanised African countries.


According to the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) report, 50% of African graduates do not find work each year. Moreover, according to a study in 2021, South Africa, Nigeria, and Namibia rank as the countries with the highest unemployment rates worldwide for graduate and non-graduate job seekers. Africa has the highest young population in the world, with 60% of the population being under 25 years old. The challenge for the continent is youth unemployment which is a ticking time bomb

Below are some ways in which BPO can help address unemployment in Africa:

  1. Job Creation
    BPO companies require a large workforce to handle the tasks they are outsourcing. As a result, BPO can create job opportunities for thousands of people in the region. This job creation can be both direct and indirect employment contributing to a trickle-down effect on other businesses, especially SMEs that can offer support services to BPO companies.
  2. Development of Skills
    BPO companies typically provide training to their employees to ensure they can perform their assigned tasks efficiently. This training can also help develop skills in demand in other sectors, thus increasing employability. Upskilling the workforce is critical to ensure a competitive advantage, and the skills should align with emerging market trends. Therefore, BPO companies should be on high alert to look for opportunities to enhance the skills of their workforce.
  3. Foreign Investment
    Africa is attractive for BPO services due to its low labor costs and labor availability. This is our hidden gem, and once foreign companies realize what Africa can offer, we will create more job opportunities and boost African economies. In the long run, the companies investing in Africa will experience more efficiency and yield profit quickly as they save on labor costs.
  4. Rural Development
    With adequate internet connectivity almost reaching the last mile in Africa, BPO staff can work remotely from their homes in both urban and rural setups. This will help to reduce the rural-urban divide as professionals remain in their rural settings and help to grow these areas economically. For example, in Kenya, there are university colleges across all parts of Kenya, and young people do not need to travel to cities to attend college. If, after graduation, they can settle in these areas and find meaningful work, we can spread out development and literacy levels across the country.

However, it’s important to note that BPO is not a panacea for unemployment in Africa. Some challenges need to be addressed to ensure more resilience in BPO companies and their ability to offer quality services. These challenges include:

  1. Lack of Infrastructure
    BPO companies require reliable internet connectivity, a steady electricity supply, and other basic infrastructure, which is lacking in some parts of Africa. The lack of critical infrastructure has also prevented BPO companies from penetrating and sourcing from rural areas. Governments across Africa need to ramp up their efforts in developing infrastructure that can enable BPO companies to source talent from any part of Africa and retain this workforce in those contexts without necessitating migration to urban settings.
  2. Language Barriers
    Many BPO companies cater to clients in the US, UK, and other English-speaking countries. This means that English proficiency is often required for employment, which can be a challenge for some job seekers in Africa. In addition, almost half of Africa is Francophone speaking, which can pause a challenge to their ability to work in the BPO centres.
  3. Competition from other Countries
    Many other countries, including India and the Philippines, have established themselves as BPO hubs. This means that Africa will face stiff competition in attracting BPO companies. This challenge can be addressed by constantly enhancing the workforce’s skills.


Overall, BPO can be a valuable tool in addressing unemployment in Africa. Still, it needs to be accompanied by other initiatives that address the root causes of unemployment and foster sustainable economic development. Governments and all stakeholders should work together to find solutions that will lift the youth out of unemployment and stimulate economic growth. They must also work together to create a conducive environment that attracts BPO companies and fosters their growth.


For businesses looking to invest in Africa, BPO companies can provide significant benefits, including overall cost savings, access to skilled labor, improved efficiency, flexibility, and access to technology and infrastructure. By outsourcing non-core tasks to BPO providers, businesses can focus on their core competencies and achieve their goals more efficiently.


How to Partner with Adelko for Outsourcing in Africa
Adelko Consulting Services has over twenty years of experience in staffing solutions across Africa. We have supported international organisations to find talent to support their work in African countries, from C-Suite searches, Board placements to outsourced permanent and temporary workers. We have a growing portfolio of BPO services for start-ups, medium and large-sized companies. We offer domestic, nearshore, and offshore BPO services to companies in Accounting, IT support, Payroll, HR service, Data Analytics, Event Management, Advertising, and Call Centres, among others. In so doing, we are helping you save on hiring and labor costs and partnering to solve the unemployment challenge in Africa to create meaningful employment for our youthful talent. All while building operational efficiency and gaining a competitive advantage by focusing on your core activities. We have invested in relevant technology and infrastructure to deliver high-quality BPO services efficiently.

To find out more, please get in touch with us at susan@adelkoconsult.com / https://www.adelkoconsult.com.

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