The knowledge sector shines in South Africa

I have worked for many years with BPeSA, the trade association that promotes and helps develop the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in South Africa – Teleperformance is very much one of the leading lights in this area. BPO is an important element in creating more employment for people in South Africa – one of the key objectives of the present government.

BPeSA works hard to promote this important sector of our economy and it is naturally where I spend most of my own time and energy, but as I mentioned in my last blog, there is a lot more to Africa than the contact centres alone. And South Africa is a very interesting and mature market – if you have never visited then I would urge you to come and see just how many business opportunities you might find here.

About 10% of all jobs are in agriculture, but there are other areas such as medicine and astronomy where South Africa leads the world. The first ever human-to-human heart transplant took place in Cape Town in 1967. The Southern African Large Telescope is the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. Once you start looking for niche opportunities in the technology sector, then several start appearing one after the other.

The government realised some time ago that they cannot rely on minerals forever and it is difficult to focus on manufacturing when China and other countries in Asia can almost always undercut the cost here. This realisation has led to a focus on knowledge industries, such as technology, services, and research.

If you have not thought about South Africa recently beyond just visiting for a holiday (and tourists are welcome!) then do explore the BPeSA and DTI websites here. It could be a pleasant surprise.

The SALT of the earth

Photo by Henti Smith licensed under Creative Commons.

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