KEPSA is the private sector apex and umbrella body set up in 2003, to bring together business community in a single voice to engage and influence public policy for an enabling business environment. over 500,000 direct and indirect members..
Shelter-Afrique House, 5th floor Mamlaka Rd, Nairobi City firstname.lastname@example.org
THE JOURNEY TOWARDS KENYA BECOMING GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE IN THE DIGITAL LABOUR MARKET THROUGH BPOS
Published On: 2023-06-23
The Ajira Digital Program through the Kenya Private Sector Alliance continues to support the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector in efforts to realize more work opportunities for young people in Kenya as well as enhance growth of the direct foreign investment in the country.
Today, the Business Process Outsourcing Association of Kenya (BPOA-Kenya) in partnership with the Ajira Digital Program held its first engagement meeting with its members and key stakeholders to help in consolidating its strategies and understand the government priorities for the industry. In attendance were representatives from the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industrialization; the Ministry of ICT and Digital Economy; the Special Economic Zones; Global, Regional, and Local BPOs as well as the BPOA-Kenya leadership.
The discussion today was timely following the recent announcement by Hon. Moses Kuria, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industrialization on the initiated government’s support strategies towards the BPOs and Big Tech companies in efforts to scale up the digital economy while creating work opportunities for the millions of young talented people in Kenya. The CS termed the BPOs and Big Tech as Special Economic Enterprises. This forum today has therefore opened up various areas of alignment ranging from the plans to market the sector globally, policies and incentives to be considered, as well as the need for collaboration from the different tiers of BPOs so as to help speak as one voice and promote ease of doing business.
Here are the various remarks from different speakers and participants:
“The government’s focus is on the creation of jobs for the million graduates joining the labour market every year. As proved by other countries such as the Philippines and India, BPOs have the muscles to create these work opportunities. We have previously been speaking in silos but there is a need for dialogue and for the sector to speak in one voice. By doing this it will be possible to hit these job targets while at the same time helping the government understand the specific support that the industry requires to thrive. We have expertise in the room that can advise on this.” – Dr. Shikoh Gitau, Advisor Digital Economy at the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industrialization and CEO Qhala.
“One of the key four pillars of Ajira Digital is catalyzing digital and digitally-enabled work and this is where the BPOA-Kenya comes in as a facilitator. This conversation is hence urgent and timely as the country looks for new ways to create value and jobs for its people. Global trade is one of the opportunities we can then tap into. We then need to strengthen our local actors and operators and harness the power of working as an ecosystem in order to succeed in making Kenya a Global labour choice destination.” – Dr. Ehud Gachugu, Director Ajira Digital Program and Youth Employment at Kenya Private Sector Alliance.
“The purpose of the BPOA-Kenya is to help put Kenya as a global labour choice destination by acting as the ecosystem coordinator. The Association is reaching out to different stakeholders including the government to help the industry take off. We want to work together with members and government to stimulate demand locally and globally as well as work together to ensure that the workers are verifiable and ready for this industry to profile Kenya providing quality talents. We look at lobbying for supportive business policies in the industry, incentives, access to capital, infrastructure constraints, and subsidies among others.” – Roselyn Maundu, Chairperson BPOA- Kenya.
“For local BPOs requiring support from the global BPOs, the biggest question is on the kind of support that you require. We are open to sharing best practices and experiences that advise their businesses.” – Sven De Cauter, Senior Site Manager, Majorel Kenya.
“As the private sector, we have all tasted the need for outsourcing especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. KEPSA has therefore been instrumental through its Public-Private Dialogue department in handling cross-cutting issues for its members including large and medium corporates as well as SMEs. It prioritizes issues through the sector boards. Hence the BPOA-Kenya is a key BMO where its members can raise different issues that require the attention of either the government or private partners.” – Emmanuel Ochieng from Public Private Dialogue Department at KEPSA.
“The BPOs can take advantage of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to enjoy the different incentives which include administrative and procedural incentives, facilitation of work permits, stamp duties exemption, withholding taxes of 5%, regional tax incentives, market access incentives among others. On the other hand, BPOs will help position SEZs at a global level.” – Francis Gitau of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
This meeting was a remarkable opportunity that has advised the sector on what to consider when drawing strategies and metrics toward making the country globally competitive through BPOs as well as emphasizing Ajira Digital’s role in providing skilled digital work participants that will meet the global market requirements and standards.