FTSE 100 listed services company Serco has opened a new business process outsourcing (BPO) contact centre in Cape Town and forecasts the creation of an initial 500 new jobs.
The provincial government, keen to boost the local economy and fight rising youth unemployment, has welcomed this investment.
The new centre housed at Newspaper House in the city centre was set to be officially opened by Premier Helen Zille later this evening.
It would compliment Serco’s existing 100 other global centres, and cater for both international and local customers in sectors such as banking, insurance and retail.
Susir Kumar, Serco Global Services chairman, said he was delighted to open their first centre in Africa.
He said in recent years South Africa had emerged as a “key global BPO destination with a highly skilled labour force and state of the art infrastructure”.
Serco also said they expected the South African market to offer “important opportunities, especially in the country’s established industries such as banking, financial services and insurance, telecom, manufacturing and mining.
“Our presence in South Africa supports our corporate strategy to enter new geographies, where we see growth potential for our services and opportunity to improve outcomes for our customers.
“We look forward to making a positive contribution to the local economy as we grow our business and create new employment opportunities”.
Bhupender Singh, chief executive for Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia said South Africa had a “large talent pool” of English language skills and “European language capabilities” and expertise in sectors such as financial services and insurance.
He said they were bringing “global best practices and BPO expertise” into the country to drive better outcomes for the company’s clients.
The company has 60 000 employees globally in over a 100 locations and present in 13 countries.
Alan Winde MEC for Economic Development and Tourism welcomed the company saying, “we are absolutely delighted that they have chosen the Western Cape as a business destination.
“The location of Serco in the Western Cape will undoubtedly increase the number of jobs in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, a sector that largely employs young people. Currently, the BPO sector contributes an estimated R7.9 billion contribution to the GDP, employs 27,552 agent jobs and 33,500 total jobs (agents, support staff and management)”
Brownwen Kausch Cape Chamber of Commerce executive manager said they welcomed any new investment into the local economy.
She said the business process outsourcing sector has had the support of the provincial government and it was now “starting to bear fruits”.
Apart from creating direct jobs and adding value to the economy, she said Serco’s investment would also benefit small businesses such as suppliers and hardware stores and as well as accountants.–Francis Hweshe