South Africa Gets Attention

Millennials want business purpose and impact sourcing delivers it.

Maryana Iskander, CEO of the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, debunked several of the common misconceptions people might have about impact sourcing in South Africa, showing its desirable business case. Harambee, a not for profit social enterprise, was honored in 2019 with the GISA award for its outstanding work driving mass adoption of impact sourcing.

Impact sourcing has led to thousands of jobs for South African youth, transformed communities and lives, and delivered improved business results. Iskander shared the successes Vodafone and Webhelp are having there, including a decrease in hiring costs and labor relations and higher attendance.

Webhelp, recognized on the Global Impact Sourcing list of companies to watch, demonstrated retention rates of 90 percent over the past year.

“The business purpose and results have to be the drivers for impact sourcing,” she said. “Millennials want business purpose and impact sourcing delivers it. It cannot be business as usual. You need business unusual.”

Iskander said its youth is a resource to tap for filling demand forecasts for talent. “The secret ingredient to South Africa is our young people,” she said. “They will power the global economy.”

According to Andy Searle, CEO of Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA), the timing is right for American BPOs and GBS operators and South African companies to form new partnerships as the market for global business services grows.

“Rising concentrations of activity in nearshore locations, quality challenges in the Philippines and India with English voice-based work, growing shortages of skills in the USA, and the prospect of a new friendly geography in the form of South Africa with its compelling value proposition are all the reasons for new partnerships,” he said.

A delegation of 18 C-level and senior leadership professionals from 14 different companies attended OWS2.0 and showcased the value proposition of South Africa and its providers over two days in the Global Services Mall.

As a result, the companies have been inundated with engagements and requests for more information about South Africa and have started planning for some of the delegates to visit as part of a due diligence exercise for their location strategies.

“The whole of the ‘Team South Africa’ delegation found the conference to be of great value and rated it as the best that we have been to thus far,” said Searle. “The knowledge sessions, speed networking, GBS hall sessions, workshops, GISC breakfast and everything else were fantastic. The level of people there made the quality and relevance of conversations that much greater than other events we have attended. We all learned a lot and appreciated the opportunity to tell our story to those who wanted to hear it.”

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