Egypt – BPO for many applications
While much of the Arab world relies on what lies under its desert sands for the wealth on which economies can be built, some have to rely on a more traditional but, many would say, more sustainable resource – the people and their capabilities. Foremost among these is Egypt (see Outsource Magazine issue 20, Spring 2010 – out now) a country with one of the oldest cultures in the world, a strong intellectual tradition and a stable secular society. In the knowledge economy, Egypt has set its sights on capturing a significant portion of the world’s BPO business and, late last year, set out its stall for the world to see. What is has to offer should make some of the more established BPO destinations sit up and take notice.
Egypt boasts over 100,000 graduates suitable for BPO services with multilingual skills including English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch and Arabic. It is a cost effective destination for outsourcing services with costs of doing business significantly lower than in Eastern Europe and other emerging markets. Proximity to Middle East and European countries makes it a strategic location for these markets and time zone similarities with Europe mean that working hours are more in line with those of target markets. The government is committed to development and economic liberalization with various incentives on offer, including training grants and attractive telecom/connectivity costs. Heavy investment in achieving world class infrastructure facilities has supported outsourcing ambitions and Egypt also has the potential to become a multi city outsourcing location. In addition to Cairo, other cities are gearing up to enter the outsourcing market, including Alexandria, El-Mansura, and Asyut – also home to one of the largest universities in Egypt.
A market that was once seen as an axis of commerce between the West and South East Asia is increasingly becoming a diverse world of resource procurers and suppliers with the potential to spark another round of price reductions and quality improvements as new BPO service locations seek to muscle their way into what is still a relatively immature market.