Countless times we have watched movies or read on the internet about “Outsourcing”. Typically, this is not a foreign concept to Africans as during colonial times, most important jobs would be offered to Europeans who would fly in specifically to take on these jobs. To date, we still have some African governments who request foreign experts to fly in and address particular issues before flying them back. In my country, Zimbabwe, our Municipality recently called in German experts to take a look at the water reticulation system in Harare. It is this author’s opinion that most African countries should consider outsourcing skilled services as part of their major foreign currency earners
Why Reference India
Through the years, India has positioned itself as a major powerhouse for outsourced services. From call centre jobs through to app development, Indians have been able to provide affordable workforce alternatives and numerous companies picked up this tab. Putting in the work and effort, as far as altering their accents to match the target market, this resilient race left no stone unturned in marking their territory and creating a niche for themselves. To this day, no other nation has been able to rival the supremacy mastered by the Indians. The old adage says necessity is the mother of invention, while desperation is the father and looking at the population in India as well as the high levels of poverty, it comes as no surprise they became a giant in this space.
In like manner, Africa is a continent that has and still endures hardship and in some cases extreme poverty. Despite the vast wealth of resources available, indigenous Africans own less than 10% overall because of colonialism and much of these resources will not benefit the continent. It is not all doom and gloom for our beloved continent however since Africa is slated to have the largest workforce by year 2025(research on this). African governments need to leverage this particular resource and turn it into a major foreign currency earner.
The Outsourcer’s Future
To date, there are quite a number of websites that offer freelancers a gander at decent work. These include, Fiverr, Freelancer.com, peopleperhour etc. Most of these sites do not necessarily have Africa as their target market. Africa has the fastest growing labour force in the world and forecasts show Africa will have the largest workforce by year 2025. It is of paramount importance that Africa catches up to this global trend of freelance work. Freelancing, globally is one of the fastest growing categories in the tech space and Africa is definitely no exception. Companies are turning to emerging markets to hire talent on demand and build remote teams at an affordable cost.
A couple of countries have already made massive bounds with respect to this, Kenya leading the pack while South Africa is anchored a close second across the bay. Very few innovators however have seen the value in creating a platform that caters to the entire African continent and not just to their respective nationalities. Only two such platforms exist that cater to the entire continent and these are Freelancer Africa and a new entrant, Afriblocks sprouting up from Zimbabwe. The future is what we make it and clearly politics is not bringing us closer to a United States of Africa, only technology can give us this now.