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Questions to the South African DTI

South African parliament

Yesterday’s venue for Intelligent Sourcing’s South African sojourn took me to the South African parliament (pictured from the editor’s camera, you could tell it wasn’t a professional shot, we know…) to interview Dr. Rob Davies, minister for the Department of Trade and Industry over here.

Long-term readers of Intelligent Sourcing, particularly under its previous incarnation as Professional Outsourcing Magazine, may remember we spoke to the minister a few years back on a visit to the UK, during which he was expanding the incentive scheme for people wanting to invest in South Africa. He was also aiming to increase the sophistication of the outsourcing assignments taken on, moving away from the purely transactional.

Three years later and a number of things have become apparent. First, if taking a whole load of young people (by which he means 18-35) out of unemployment and into full time jobs is a success, then you can count this box well and truly ticked. We will present proper figures in the special report on South Africa on which we are working, and no, he doesn’t want to stop it where it is, he wants to grow it. Second, there are increasing amounts of schemes for young people wanting to get into the contact centre and BPO industries including some backed by government.

Third, although the government is aware of the impact of automation and still wants increasingly sophisticated sourcing engagements, for the moment the transactional stuff is still a good source of investment and employment so that’s going to be a long term change rather than a short term one. Obviously everyone is watching the robotics industry to see where it goes.

But as he approaches retirement age, he ought to be reasonably reassured that thousands have jobs they didn’t have before the initiatives were put in place. The full interview will appear in our report shortly.

P. S. Will it irritate everybody badly if I say the weather is fabulous and all those clouds cleared just after I took the pic? OK, OK, just asking…

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