Nigeria, with its large pool of skilled IT professionals and low labour costs, is aiming at becoming a global outsourcing hub for information technology services.
In a keynote address at the National Conference on International Trade-in-Services, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, revealed Nigeria’s ambitious plan to emerge as a dominant player in the international trade of services, with a particular focus on Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES).
Under the theme “Making Nigeria a Global Outsourcing Destination,” Dr. Ngige emphasized the unparalleled potential for Nigeria to capitalize on its burgeoning population of skilled professionals and adaptability to technological advancements, propelling the nation to the forefront of the global outsourcing landscape.
The BPO industry has witnessed exponential growth worldwide, with countries like India, the Philippines, China, and Mexico leading the charge. In Africa, nations such as South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, and Mauritius have made significant strides in attracting outsourcing investments. Now, Nigeria is determined to leverage its large pool of educated and English-speaking professionals to seize the vast opportunities in the outsourcing sector.
To achieve this vision, Dr. Ngige outlined a comprehensive strategy encompassing four key thematic areas: “ 1. Creating a Competitive Business Environment: Nigeria will implement policies to foster a favorable business climate, streamline bureaucratic processes, and offer attractive incentives to both local and international investors seeking to establish or expand their operations. 2. Skills Development and Training: Emphasizing the importance of skill-building, the country will align its education and training systems with the evolving demands of the outsourcing industry, ensuring a workforce capable of delivering high-quality services.
Others include “Investing in Infrastructure and Connectivity: Nigeria will prioritize developing robust internet infrastructure, advanced telecommunications networks, and modern data centers to support seamless and secure outsourcing operations. Special attention will be given to enhancing last-mile connectivity in rural areas to promote inclusivity and encouraging Innovation and Technology Adoption: The country will support its thriving technology ecosystem and entrepreneurial talent, encouraging innovation and the adoption of emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, blockchain, and automation.
Dr. Ngige also stressed the importance of forging strategic partnerships and collaborations both domestically and internationally. Engaging with successful outsourcing nations will provide valuable insights and opportunities for knowledge transfer and joint ventures.
However, she emphasized the social impact and ethical considerations associated with the industry, urging measures to protect data privacy, cybersecurity, and the rights and well-being of workers in the outsourcing and ITES sectors.
As the conference gathers stakeholders from various sectors, Nigeria is set to embark on this transformative journey to unlock the vast potential of outsourcing and ITES, aiming to position itself as a shining beacon of excellence in the global outsourcing landscape.