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Africa Enters Global Market For IT Outsourcing

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the race-to-the-bottom dept.

Technology 442

nusratt writes "MarketWatch reports that many organizations 'are moving away from India as the place to outsource, because of the labor churn, and Africa supplies the highest rate of return on investments. New York's parking ticket system is managed from Ghana, Nigeria has an entire ministry for ICT, and Mauritius is building its own CyberCity. Gartner predicts that up to 25 percent of IT jobs today will be moved to emerging markets by 2010'."

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796725)

fp

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796738)

Wow, you ever get the feeling to do something completely irrational... that you despise?

No? Oh well.

firrst post (-1, Troll)

astar (203020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796727)

why not try

ummmmm.... security? (3, Insightful)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796732)

Would you trust any sensitive customer data in Nigeria? Im not being racist, just that they dont exactly have a glowing track record.

Re:ummmmm.... security? (1, Redundant)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796804)

"Would you trust any sensitive customer data in Nigeria? Im not being racist, just that they dont exactly have a glowing track record."

Just so ya know, you would have sounded less racist if you had mentioned the Nigerian scam (419 I think?) as a point for why anybody'd trust them.

I'll be honest, though, I don't think it's all that fair to generalize. Sadly, though, I share the same fear, too. Hopefully one day I'll evolve.

Re:ummmmm.... security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796900)


You evolve? ...no. There is no question of racism here. They need to evolve. They need to learn to play the game. We're talking about countries where criminal behavior is the norm. It would be like trying to do business in Ukraine 10 years ago.

Fortunatly, what happens is larger companies will get burned a few times, and eventually a system WILL evolve that allows people to make sure the jobs get done in a fair and trustworthy manner. Plain vanilla capitalism will someday become normal to them. They will learn, and be better for it. Sort of like what is finally happening in Ukraine.

Re:ummmmm.... security? (5, Interesting)

Dibblah (645750) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796919)

No. In fact, it *is* fair to generalize. If a country is cheap to outsource to, it means that labor costs are cheap. Which means the workers get paid little. This is fine (commercially speaking) when you're just making running shoes. But when you're handing out IT support and the workers must have access to sensitive financial and proprietory information to do their job, this has to be something that crosses a managers mind.

Oh. Wait a minute. No, it doesn't.

Nigeria! (5, Funny)

Megor1 (621918) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796733)

Oh yes this is the country you want to trust for your outsourcing needs. "Thank you for calling Dell,.... Well sir I think I know how we can fix your computer problem, you see my uncle Prince Zambar the great had $434,000,000 (FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR BILLION DOLLARS) yadda yadda yadda."

Re:Nigeria! (1)

leathered (780018) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796791)

Worse than Dell (if that's possible) would be your bank moving it's entire operation over there.

It would take a very brave company to risk its customer's security and goodwill by transferring their operation to a state as institutionally corrupt as Nigeria. Oil companys invest there because the rewards are well worth the risks. For all others, forget it.

Go fuck yourself (3, Informative)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796830)

FYI The the nation that produces the most spam is the Good Ole USA. Just because this scam is popular in Nigera dosn't mean that most nigerian's are scam artists. A couple of months ago over 500 scammers were arrested. Of course slashdot decided not to publish the story.

Re:Go fuck yourself (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796853)

" Just because this scam is popular in Nigera dosn't mean that most nigerian's are scam artists"

Actually, yes it does.

Re:Go fuck yourself (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796855)

You must be a nigger.

read it here (3, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796929)

I read about that "500 scammer arrest" here on slasherdot. Not sure-don't recall- if it was a standalone article or a reference in a subthread though, but defintely it was here.

My bottom line as a past identity theft victim is, I don't trust anyone or anyplace with my info now, although you are forced to provide it in some cases. I now use cash as much as possible, don't have an ebay or paypal, etc, account,never use them, don't pay any bills online, and tend to use postal money orders a lot for buying things "remotely", and even then, only if it's impossible to find or order what I want locally in a brick and mortar store. Yes, it's limiting, but still doable in our society, but it gets increasingly hard to do. It seems every business out there wants all your info, and nowadays every other website wants your info just to look at the website. Screw it. I love the *theory* of the internet, and I use it up to what my personal-choice limits will allow now, but the *practice* of the internet as regards any sort of rational "security" is a 50/50 crapshoot near as I can see as soon as "money" is involved in any manner. If your software isn't insecure, then the humans at the other end might be insecure.

Re:Go fuck yourself (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796968)

Actually...

Nigeria is well known as one of the most corrupt and scam ridden countries in the world.

Ever read "No Longer At Ease" by Chinua Achebe?

Nigeria has a culture of scamming and corruption that is just a deeply rooted part of society.

But it doens't seem so bad to them, it just seems like a normal part of society. Doing these kind of scam is like a perfectly normal way for a young person to make money.

It's kind of like how in urban areas of America selling drugs isn't frowned upon in fact it is often glorified in the media (movies, music) and the people who are successful at it are seen as role models.

Except in Nigeria scams and corruption are only slightly illegal so it would be more like if selling crack was punishable with 2 nights in jail and $200 fine instead of 20 years without parole.

Re:Go fuck yourself (1)

lonesome phreak (142354) | more than 10 years ago | (#9797008)

Too bad this was modded down, as I have a feeling that there is quite a bit of truth behind it.

Re:Nigeria! (1)

Too Much Noise (755847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796882)

I wonder ... for an article that practically begs for Nigerian scam jokes, how many will be modded as redundant? Mind you, the submission itself could probably compete successfully for a +5 Funny, so no complaints here :-)

electricity (0, Flamebait)

sinnfeiner1916 (793749) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796740)

i didn't know they had electricity in africa. besides, if they don't have food how do they have C compilers?

Re:electricity (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796763)

I didn't know they had electricity in Ireland. Besides, if they don't have potatoes how do they have C compilers?

GNAA TO OUTSOURCE JOBS TO GNAA, NIGERIA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796741)

Unless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796744)

Unless you live in Africa or India, this isn't much to be concerned with.

Nigeria has an entire ministry for ICT (4, Funny)

wfberg (24378) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796747)

And as it so happens the Nigerian ministry of ICT has developed a product for the US Department of Homeland Security. Problem is, that the DHS can only contract out to a US based company or individual. Seeing as this contract is worth 480 MILLION DOLLARS, they will be glad to give you 10% of that, if you were to act as an intermediary.. There are just a feeeew formalities to be handled, like, oh, a Nigerian ICT business license, and this thing called a Remmitance Fee. Honest truth. They e-mailed me about it just yesterday.

Its not racism...Nigeria has a problem (3, Informative)

voss (52565) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796751)

Nigeria is like the internet scam capital of the world they lack the legal infrastructure to be a trustworthy place to do business.

Thats not to say they couldnt turn it around...but its going to take a lot of work.

Re:Its not racism...Nigeria has a problem (4, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796775)

But they have proved that they have the telecommunications infrastructure and the ability to forge international business deals worth many billions of dollars.

Re:Its not racism...Nigeria has a problem (2, Insightful)

lofi-rev (797197) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796789)

Africa is a lot bigger than just Nigeria. Plus it seems any company trying to attract outsourcing would need to do a lot to maintain security protocols - otherwise no one would do business with them again.

Re:Its not racism...Nigeria has a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796872)

You can attract outsourcing with two different methods:
  • be the best (technologically)
  • or be cheaper
and Africa is cheap, very cheap...

Re:Its not racism...Nigeria has a problem (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796902)

I have to agree. I run a small internet business selling my own physics textbooks, and recently I got a $1300 order from someone in Lagos, Nigeria. Ran the transaction on her credit card, and then waited for the money to hit my account before I shipped the order. My merchant service provider called me up, and explained that they were holding the money because there was a high probability of fraud. Contacted the customer. Her response: "Oh, if that credit card number didn't work, that's no problem. I'll give you three more, and one of those will work for sure."

The weird thing about it is the lesson it teaches about the banality of crime. I mean, c'mon, using a stolen credit card number to buy physics textbooks?? There must actually be students in Lagos who want to buy the books, and I suppose this is simply her way of increasing her profit margin.

Reminds me of China, where all these U.S. businesses tried to move into the market, and then found out that the whole country was basically run by Communist Party gangster-officials. India may be screwed up in many ways (population, children's lack of access to education, ...), but they are at least a more-or-less functioning democracy with a more-or-less functioning court system.

Keeping Wages Down (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796754)

Whatever about the labour markets in India and China, the real reason for this move is too keep wages, everywhere, down. If the Indian or Chinese programmers start asking for an extra 50 cent an hour, move it to Africa. And hey! There's still South America and Latin America id things go wrong there too!

I know outsourcing is supossed to bring everyone up to the same level, but what happens if a cycle emerges, whereby companies just pick a region on a decade by decade basis, keeping wages down permenatntly! They'd like too you know. But that's worst case senario

Best case, years of outsourceing leads to an equalisation of wages globally. Lets just hope those wages are the level we're used to and not the level programmers in El Salvador.

Re:Keeping Wages Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796826)

Welcome to global capitalism my friend.

You have just stumbled on to the struggle between labor and capital.

Go to the head of the class.

El Salvador (1)

jjga (612356) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796827)

El Salvador is located in Central America, not South America.

Re:Keeping Wages Down (3, Insightful)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796842)

What this leads to over time is people in these third-world countries, as well as the people who are hiring them from around the world, gradually having a better life than they did before.

As one country develops to the point where it's workers are efficient enough to be able to charge more for labor-intensive work like a call center, they move on to higher-paid work and the call center work gets moved to yet another country.

You don't pay a backhoe operator to dig ditches by hand when you have a backhoe handy and it's not because you want to keep from paying the backhoe operator too much.

There is a reason for this, it's called comparative efficiency and it's why trade between individuals exists in the first place.

What you are missing is that in order to "outsource" work to any country, a company must pay the people who work there more than they were being paid already, otherwise they wouldn't work for them, would they?

Re:Keeping Wages Down (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796888)

What this leads to over time is people in these third-world countries, as well as the people who are hiring them from around the world, gradually having a better life than they did before.

That is a logical consequence of importing Third World misery and desperation into the United States. If this country were to start acting in its own interests again, and not just the interests of its upper class, it would stop.

Re:Keeping Wages Down (1)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796927)

If this country were to start acting in its own interests again, and not just the interests of its upper class, it would stop.

I'm not sure it is a country's best interest to keep producing the best, damned buggy whips in the world.

Re:Keeping Wages Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9797012)

No, it's much better to outsource the buggywhip factory to another country to keep business profitable.

Re:Keeping Wages Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796998)

Umm, if that was true how come workers in factories in cambodia and guatamala haven't worked their way up to high wages yet?

People said the same thing when manufacturing jobs disappeared overseas. "Oh the wages will come up to our level and the jobs will come back and the whole world will be living like us! Yay, capitalism is god!".

But no...those factories are still paying cents on the hour with no benefits.

If you think things are going to be different this time around you need to take off the rose colored glasses.

Re:Keeping Wages Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796898)

I would encourage followers of this thread to watch a documentary called 'The Corporation'.

There was a piece within the film about Nike, and how they started a factory in Central America. A US organization did some investigating and determined that the average worker was getting something like 3.5 cents to make a pair of shoes that retails for over $100.

They interviewed some workers, and found that the 'equalization of wages' did not come close to giving them enough to support their families. Even more, Nike later relocated the factory to Indonesia.

The 'worst case scenario' is reality. Companies will continue to take advantage of the poorest countries and never actually help them. Ideals about bringing up the world-wide wage are just that. The value of labour will never appreciate as long as there are more mouths to feed than good jobs.

Equalization means down. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796938)

The US standard of living is based on cosuming 60%of the worlds resources. So there is a problem bringing everybody up to that level.

yeah, right.. (2, Informative)

keeboo (724305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796960)

Whatever about the labour markets in India and China, the real reason for this move is too keep wages, everywhere, down. If the Indian or Chinese programmers start asking for an extra 50 cent an hour, move it to Africa. And hey! There's still South America and Latin America id things go wrong there too!

I think that South America is already quite expensive for that alreay... Perhaps Central America instead.

Writers are a little slow (2, Funny)

big tex (15917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796755)

"Outsourcing says there is also a drive to follow the sun, to allow them to offer services 24/7 (24 hours, seven days a week)."

For such a buzzword driven article, they have to explain 24/7? Damn.

that's actually good! (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796846)

If more people spelled it out, we'd see less nonsense like 24/7/365 ("24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 weeks a ... waitaminnit!") :)

Re:Writers are a little slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796999)

they don't even get it right for fuck's sake. "24 hours, seven days a week" would be absolutely pathetic support; about 3 hours 25 mins per day.

And you thought you where so smart! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796756)

HAha, All you stupid CS majors think you are so fucking smart...

But now it turns out a smelly nigger with AIDS can do you job for 1/20th the cost of you!

Govt efforts to stop spams/scams? (1)

usefool (798755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796758)

Would this potential bigger fish (outsourcing) forces Nigerian government to take a good look at actually stopping spams and scams coming out of their country?

In some Asian countries, Microsoft won't invest unless the government stops software piracy, but that drives some to OSS though :)

Re:Govt efforts to stop spams/scams? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796907)

Considering other huge opportunities that they've had and ignored I doubt they are going to sort things out just for some IT biz. While the guys in power have the money, and the tanks to protect themselves from the masses, they have no motivation to improve anything. Encouragiging IT biz would just be asking to shine a light on the terrible state of the country. I can't see that those in power would want that.

Light and Fluffy, but interesting (5, Informative)

lofi-rev (797197) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796760)

It's not super in depth, but over at cio.com they have interactive maps [cio.com] comparing different parts of the world for outsourcing.

Sure, send money to Nigeria (3, Funny)

Woy (606550) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796761)

Yeah, i'm glad money is flowing into Nigeria, as i am about to complete a transaction with a Nigerian prince that will settle my money problems for good. I laugh at thee.

Oursourc is a trend (1)

hurricane_sh (800031) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796762)

Not sure how the big companies think about oursourcing, for home/small office, it's no doubt a good solution to cut down the cost. Of course, you will take some risks to find the right people in the beginning.

Nigerian ICT (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796771)

Dear Sir:

I represent a technology company employing thousands of programmers whose founder recently suffered an untimely demise. Without his leadership, these programmers remain without work, and soon will drift away to find other jobs with the government. If I could find an overseas company to employ these programmers, we could avoid the government acquiring these workers and save your company millions of dollars in the process. I propose that you keep 90% of the savings, while 10% goes to me as a finders fee.

There is nothing unethical about this transaction.

We must act now to take advantage of this situation. We will need funds to write a proposal for your signature to complete the outsourcing. Please send me the account numbers for your corporate accounts.

Sincerely,
Prince^H^H^H^H^H^HCIO Mgumbi

Someone had to do it... (1)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796778)

Nigeria has an entire ministry for ICT

Fifth floor, third door on the left, next to the Ministry for Snipping, run by Dr Timothy Ognobaki, your previously unknown third cousin, who recently passed away leaving you the sum of $17,000,000...

language gap (2, Funny)

jokach (462761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796800)



Chief among the strengths of the African continent, says Rive, is the fact that English is really strong. "It is a different accent, but it is well understood.


Maybe now we can understand the person on the other side of the phone ........

Re:language gap (1)

DarkElf109 (799937) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796923)

Well, if we outsource the Indian teaching jobs to Africa, we can have the Africans teaching the Indians American English! And it'll only be pennies on the dollar! Why didn't we think of this sooner!

I don't know... (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796945)

As a bit of background, I worked around people from all over the world at my last job (which I held for 4 years while I was in college). In addition to the students and staff employees from Africa that I got to know there, i knew several from on campus as well as my time in other locations.

As far as their English is concerend, a lot of them did pretty well (The ones from Egypt especially. Some of them could be mistaken for natives on the phone without any trouble). Some of them, however, were difficult to understand and one or two of them nearly impossible (they talked far too fast and ran half of their words together).

Overall, however, language wasn't much of a barrier. The thing to remember is that it depends not only on the person speaking but also on the person listening. People who are used to a wide variety of accents and manners of speech will usually have an easier time understanding forigen speakers.

Capitalism at work. (1)

Knights who say 'INT (708612) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796801)

Yes, capitalism _will_ solve hunger in Africa.

(And cut the 419 jokes, already. Christ, so obvious)

Re:Capitalism at work. (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796883)

If the capitalism comes in the form of small ventures it probably will save Africa from famine. If it comes in the form of internationally funded corruption (aka the IMF) or in the form of mega corporations it will simply keep the people impoverished for another several decades.

Re:Capitalism at work. (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796961)

No, it won't. The places that are starving are not the places that will have phone centers. The places that are starving tend to have very corrupt governments which won't allow their people access to food. Most of these people cannot even read their own langauge, let alone English.
It isn't like there isn't enough food to feed these people, it's that often times when we try to help, the governments won't allow many aid workers into the countries and when people try to ship food aid in, it just ends up getting diverted to the army and such. The real answer to Africa's problems isn't phone centers, it's getting honest governments. And if you or I had a 1 sentence solution to that problem, well we would be talking about it in Oslo, not /.

Allah and the dollar (1)

flopsy mopsalon (635863) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796813)

he problem with outsourcing education-intensive jobs to places like Africa and India [hopkinsmedicine.org] is that the AIDS plague makes it too hard to maintain an educated workforce, since the high death rate among adults leaves too many orphaned children.

Thus it is in Islamic countries like Ghana and Nigeria, where religious beliefs have kept the spread of AIDS at bay, that we see companies being willing to outsource work. In this day and age, when the "clash of civilizations" threatens to plunge the world into total war, it is ironic that muslim and secular societies have come together through, of all things, job outsourcing.

Re:Allah and the dollar (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796947)

"Thus it is in Islamic countries like Ghana and Nigeria, where religious beliefs have kept the spread of AIDS at bay..."

You mean the belief that it's ok to rape a woman up the ass and share her with your buddies? (Because regular sex is baadddd) Oh yeah, I can see where this would stem the tide of AIDS.

Just out of curiousity, how would you tell if someone had died of AIDS in such oppressive countries?

(I am surprised that people think Africa will have less "churn" though.)

Re:Allah and the dollar (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796976)

How is this so weird? Most Muslim conquests in history were for wealth, knowledge, and the spead of faith. Take over a city, collect a tithe from the inhabitants, govern well, and watch your wealth grow. It paid better (and was a lot more productive) than razing a town and just taking what was there.

Don't forget that they were the most advanced people in the western world for a very long time because they protected knowledge and resources instead of destroying them. They've been very aware of, and participated actively in, the secular world since Islam was started.

This is just another way of doing it.

Nigeria: If our reputation doesn't get you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796816)

...our genocides will.

AIDS = Churn (1)

Bill_Royle (639563) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796818)

Churn in India may be a problem, but AIDS is a pretty big problem in Africa - which unfortunately will affect churn as well. A few stats on AIDS in Africa:

* 5.4 million new AIDS infections in 1999, 4 million of them in Africa.
* 2.8 million dead of AIDS in 1999, 85 percent of them in Africa.
* 13.2 million children orphaned by AIDS, 12.1 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
* Reduced life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa from 59 years to 45 between 2005 and 2010, and in Zimbabwe from 61 to 33.
* More than 500,000 babies infected in 1999 by their mothers -- most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

Considering the scope of the problem, the chances of locating anything but no-brainer jobs there is pretty slim. I can't see anyone betting on long-term (and skilled) career employees there. Bad for low-level jobs, but the loss of high-paying jobs seems pretty remote.

Re:AIDS = Churn (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796890)

AIDS is actually a problem in India too, but Gartner and crew don't want to let you know about them(because they are trying to sell you outsourcing). India has the highest number of HIV infections outside of Africa(about 4 million and growing)
India and China are also trying to sweep diabetes epidemics under the rug. Because of genetic factors, some doctors consider Asians much more prone to diabetes as they settle down into office jobs than people of European decent.

Re:AIDS = Churn (2, Insightful)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796909)

Yea all those deaths of AIDS in Africa..those deaths used to be counted as starvation, diseases brought on by Malnutrition, parasites, dysentery, diseases and the like. If AIDs was truly an "epidemic" as they say such as other diseases then 3/4 of the entire African continent would be dead by now after 25 yrs of HIV/AIDS infection. Deaths (such as from TB) that used to be counted as due to a specific disease or the horrid living conditions are now classified as AIDS "related" so the countries can get UN money which the corrupt governments promptly siphon away. There are many studies that show that a lot of what we hear about HIV/AIDS are myths, and are not supported by sound science. But these voices have been silenced by the drugs companies and the researchers who live off of them as well as the companies live off Gov't funding for AIDS.

Political stability anyone? (3, Interesting)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796825)

Really now. India and Taiwan I can imagine as good sources for cheap labour. Stable and growing economies backed by a stable enough political systems. Now about most of Africa then? Only the countries at the northern most end and the southern most end ( Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and South-Africa. ) are anywhere near stable. The countries in the middle are plagued by atrocious economies that can't support anything, absolute lack of anything after YEARS of prolonged warfare and famine, no political stability whatsoever and plenty of tribal conflicts to boot.

I would think twice of investing resources in a country where the next day you might have to deal with 50k refugees from your neighbor camping on your grounds, the local fundamentalist warlord taking over control of the country and/or a tribal warfare because you've employed someone from tribe Z which pissed of tribes A to Y.

Ethnic discrimination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796934)

In Africa, there are 3 wars currently going on, but they are extremely low scale. Africa is really stable at the moment, so your comment is simply ignorant.

What about Darfur? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796971)

What about the genocide in Darfur. Is that a extremely low scale war? If it is, what the fuck do you consider a large scale war, the use of asteroids to destroy planets?

The point of outsourcing: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9797002)

It's not to save money. It's diffusion of responsibiliy, and obfuscation from oversight. The stability of Africa isn't an issue. In fact its instability is an opportunity for graft, corruption and revenue growth freed from the shackles of effective government. First, the idea was to get it out of sight from the US government. But more can be stolen more quickly and brazenly in a country where the law is openly for sale, and I'm not talking about legislatures.

Nothing to fear here..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796837)

The problem with Africa is that it is full of niggers. They are too busy shooting and raping one another to get involved with the computer industry.

Re:Nothing to fear here..... (1)

jhunsake (81920) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796894)

Now THAT is insightful.

Re:Nothing to fear here..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796949)

You obviously haven't been to Africa lately.

Re:Nothing to fear here..... (1)

dustinbarbour (721795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796915)

Wow.. Seriously, the parent post made me say "wow" outloud.

Re:Nothing to fear here..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796950)

No kidding, that was a disappointing post...

Re:Nothing to fear here..... (1)

jongi_ct (738355) | more than 10 years ago | (#9797006)

After all this galashing about African countries, could'nt, sit back and relax. Yes some of Nigerian are bad people(I'm a South african though :-). Lots of them leave here. And I remember a day they were protesting in front of Cape Town magistrate's court saying "We're not bad people" and opposing bail to other fellow Nigerians "We are opposing bail for them, because they are giving us a bad name. We want the courts to give them maximum sentences." So what can I say. THERE ARE BAD ALL OVER AND THE WORLD IS TIED OF THEM, /.(Companies must think twice and outsource to South Africa) :-)/****and our gorvement is moving slowly to OSS**/

HELLO SIR/MADAM!!! (1)

jimi1283 (699887) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796838)

With much sincerity of purpose we make this contact with you after satisfactory information we gathered from the Chamber of Commerce here in Nigeria though we did not disclose the nature of the transaction to them, believing that you will provide us a feasible solution to job/services rendered for the Nigerian National Software Developers Association [NNSDA] by Foreign Companies. Although it might be a surprise to you, it is my sincere pleasure to intimate you with this confidential business proposal, which will certainly benefit all of us involved.

I am a senior software developer with the Nigerian National Software Developers Association Headquarters, Lagos. I have decided with some colleagues in the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] and The Federal Ministry of Finance to contact you secretly on this business for the arrangement of transferring 37.5M [Thirty Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand] jobs to our country.

However, concrete arrangement has been made to remit the jobs successfully to our country.

Being Government officials, we are prevented by the Law from screwing fat lazy Americans out of jobs while still in the Government service, hence the need for your assistance.

Please, let me know your position by fax through my Tel/fax number above as soon as this gets to you also include your direct Tel/fax number and e-mail address for easy communication. Details are reserved until we hear from you.

Yours Sincerely,

DR. JAMES EJIKE

All is not lost (2, Funny)

loginx (586174) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796847)

I'm working on a very efficient business model that I will implement very shortly... it goes as follows:

Good Day Sir,

My name is John Smith, I am a district manager at the New York Bank of Commerce (NYBC) and I am contacing you to obtain your help in an urgent matter.

Several weeks ago, Prince Adhi-Butta Gambei, passed away in a plane accident on the coast of Los Angeles, leaving in our safe a fortune estimated to no less than 2,600,000,000 nairas. Yes, that is 2 Billion, six hundred thousand nairas (approximately USD $20,000,000 or Twenty Million US Dollars).

With your help, I believe I may have an opportuny to move these funds to a separate account before my government can take possession of these funds but I need the help of someone familiar with the nigerian political system and I will provide you with detailed instructions that will help you pretend that you are the legitimate heir of Prince Adhi-Butta Gambei.

Once the funds are transfered in your NYBC account, I will move these funds immediately to an off-short account, leaving in your NYBC 30% of the amount. That is 78,000,000 nairas... YES!! Seventy Eight Million nairas (or USD $600,000).

However, openning an account at NYBC will require a minimum balance of USD $14,000 (1,820,140 nairas).

I was able to place $6,000 of my personal funds in this account, however I require your help in providing the remaining $8,000 (1,040,080 nairas) in order to reach our goal.

Best Regards,

John Smith

I really can't blame corporations. (4, Interesting)

Freston Youseff (628628) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796849)

Seriously, if the labour is as skilled, what's the justification for keeping the labour in the 1st world? Moral crusading on the idea that this would only be justified if the outsourced workers were paid an identical wage falls flat on its face; "victims" of outsourcing would be identically as pissed as they are now as they're having wages undercut. We're going to have to admit sooner or later that your average African or Indian brain can process the simplicity of IT work as well as your average Euro-American IT worker. If you ask me, offshore workers still have a very large hurdle to jump in order to become as useful in processing IT labour: predominant mastery of major lingua francas.

Re:I really can't blame corporations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796899)

You're right but why can't these people do everything by themselves, like creating a company instead of waiting for jobs to be outsourced?

This is good news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796858)

if you're in the GNAA.

Nigeria? (1)

jcuervo (715139) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796865)

DEAR SIR/MADAM...

Oh, the rest of Slashdot already beat me to it. Never mind. :D

Good move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796866)

I like my outsourcing done in a country where someone's arm will be cut off if they do a subpar job.

No chance (2, Interesting)

alwynschoeman (673941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796871)

As an African I know that his is one prediction that is not going to become reality.

There's a few places in Africa worth the trouble.

In the south, only South-Africa and only if the government can control itself and not become like the rest of Africa.
In the middle, maybe Ghana.
Up north, maybe some of the Arab countries.

Let's see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796904)

You're saying that only one African country with a significant Negro population in the entire continent of Africa is capable of sharing in the technology revolution?

You're from South Africa, right?

The U.S. outsources to Canada (3, Insightful)

otisg (92803) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796875)

I read an interesting article the other day. This article was describing Canada as a great place for the U.S. to outsource its jobs, because:

1. same time zone
2. same language
3. similar work ethics and culture
4. lower wages
5. highly educated
6. geographically closer ...
Makes sense, eh?

Africa Can Seize Share of IT Outsourcing Market (2, Informative)

alchemistkevin (763955) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796881)

hurriedly pasted text (before we start getting the: bandwidth exhausted for the next millennium message)

By ECT News Syndication Desk 07/18/04 5:49 PM PT

There are many areas in which African countries, eager to move into this space, can carve out a niche for themselves. The lucrative call center sector is one such area. Creating an environment that makes offshore outsourcing in Africa attractive can have many positive spin-offs for the continent as a whole, not just in terms of increased employment, additional revenue and new skills, but also in terms of changing the perception the developed world has about Africa.

With the rising cost of local production and labor in developed countries like the United States, many companies, especially in the IT arena are looking to the developed world for answers -- and finding them. Countries like India have successfully positioned themselves as niche providers of outsourced labor in IT and are reaping the benefits. And, as analysts continue to predict a growth in this type of outsourcing, the opportunity is ripe for other developing countries to tap into this lucrative market. The question is: Can Africa capture a share of the offshore IT market?

US research firm Gartner Ine is predicting that the outsourcing segment will continue to outperform the western European IT services market overall, growing by 3.1 percent in 2004, then rising steadily during the next three years to an annual increase of 8 percent in 2007. Moreover, as a result of global outsourcing trends, Gartner predicts that up to 25 percent of traditional IT jobs in many developed countries today will be situated in emerging markets by 2010. The move to offshore outsourcing is spurred on by increasing pressure on companies in the developed world to generate profits and reduce costs. Anton Groom of MBS Outsourcing says there is also a drive to follow the sun, to allow them to offer services 24/7 (24 hours, seven days a week). "It therefore makes sense to have offices located in the three primary time zones," says Groom.

He adds that with a client base expanding globally, it also makes sense to provide clients with a global delivery model. As the developing world gains momentum in creating pools of qualified, skilled talent, outsourcing to these regions becomes more attractive.

Following India's Lead

India has managed to create a niche for itself in this area, but it has not happened overnight. Amar Vakil, CEO of Lintas, a US-based management-consulting firm, and founder of the Foreign Investment Promotion Council, explains that there are specific factors that have enabled India to position itself in such a manner. These factors are predominantly a skilled workforce and appropriate infrastructure.

"Twenty to 25 years ago, India was an underdeveloped country. There was a brain drain of skilled labor to developed countries, where, for example there was a need for engineers," says Vakil. "Ten to 15 years ago, people like me, with similar backgrounds, decided to move back to India and there was a huge impetus from government to build world class communications networks. Government started dabbling with public-private partnerships, which now, after 10 or so years are proving very effective."

While this may not be easy to replicate, Vakil believes there are lessons to be learned from India and other countries like the Philippines which have attracted a strong outsource base. "The playing field is level. It is not India's game at all," he says. Although India was one of the first to position itself in this way, "there is an opportunity for other countries to tap into this potential".

Where India focused on information technology and software development, African countries wanting to tap into this opportunity will need to look at IP-enabled services.

Everdream founder and vice-president, Lyndon Rive, agrees that Africa can move into this arena. "Third world countries are getting educated enough to offer IT support, making them an untapped resource," he says. Everdream provides hosted IT software applications and services that protect, manage and support personal computers at medium and large organizations.

In fact, Rive says, many companies are moving away from India as the place to outsource, because of the labor churn that is taking place in India. And African countries have a whole lot going for them.

Africa's Strengths

Chief among the strengths of the African continent, says Rive, is the fact that English is really strong. "It is a different accent, but it is well understood. Sometimes Chinese or Indian speakers of English are not so easy to understand," he says. Everdream has had experience working with companies in Costa Rica and Rive stresses that in cross-border transactions the "language barrier is an issue".

Certain African countries are also making progress in positioning themselves as hubs for IT and thus attracting IT business to their shores. Mauritius, for example, is building on a concept similar to Dubai Internet City, with its own Mauritius CyberCity. In South Africa, Cape Town has worked hard to position itself as an IT hub on the continent.

According to Vakil, Ghana has the potential to tap into this market from the perspective that it has had a very stable government for the last 20 years and the workforce is fairly motivated. "For example, New York's parking ticket system is managed from Ghana. The challenge here is that government is not geared to capture this opportunity," says Vakil.

Nigeria, on the other hand, has an entire ministry for ICT, but, says Vakil, there is a major disconnection between government and the private sector.

"I think Africa is a phenomenal resource," says Rive. "It has extremely smart people."

Africa's Weaknesses

Of course, there are challenges to positioning African countries as ripe for offshore outsourcing. There are questions about the stability of certain African governments, which may deter investors from moving to the region. Political instability is currently impacting India's offshore outsourcing niche.

Groom says that there is also much bureaucracy in dealing with governments in African countries, though some have made strides in making it easier for companies to build offshore. Vakil uses the example of Ghana where it takes six months to form a company because of the initial processes, which have been in place for such a long time. "It could be perceived as an opportunity to change the regulations for business so that businesses are welcome to come in and operate."

In addition, says Groom, many African countries do not have the needed communications infrastructure to take advantage of the opportunities. The legislative environment can also hinder foreign involvement. "It's about protection. If we build an office in that country, will we have good judicial system to back us up?" Groom asks. The language issue also plays a role, though Groom, like Rive, points out that countries like South Africa have a strong English speaking workforce, and Francophone Africa with its French-speaking population is attractive to many European countries.

While Africa is wrongly perceived as an unattractive region for investment, Groom points out that Africa supplies the highest rate of return on investments, though it only gets a small proportion of the total investments. "Of course, the risks are higher," he says. If Africa is to tap into this potential goldmine, government and industry need to work together to create an environment that fosters an interest from companies in the US and Europe.

"Government's involvement is very important, but it needs to be more of a partnership," says Vakil. "The private sector needs to partner with government to create an enabling environment. Together they can adapt to the changing needs of the sector. In India, for example, there is a need to move out of the urban hub into rural areas, because it is not cost effective to remain in the urban areas." Vakil is "reasonably certain" that government in India is looking at ways and means of bringing rural areas into the economic growth. The private sector needs to create interest in government to get involved in such public private partnerships.

It is also vital that African countries nurture tertiary education, customizing tertiary education courses to capture the market and produce the needed skills to be attractive to investors. "India focused on creating engineers. There are 250,000 to 300,000 engineers coming out of universities in India at the moment," says Vakil.

Communal Approach

To be successful, it is necessary to build the community as a whole. But understandably developing countries have limited capital to put this in place. Vakil points out that there are agencies out there that can really assist them. He adds that government needs to let go of some control. "In India, about eight years ago we were involved with a water project. It took us seven years to build the partnership with government. A second project near that same region took about nine months," says Vakil. "There are definitely ways to help put effective partnerships in place sooner, but they cannot be replicated as is, because every country is different."

There are many areas in which African countries, eager to move into this space, can carve out a niche for themselves. The lucrative call center sector is one such area. Creating an environment that makes offshore outsourcing in Africa attractive can have many positive spin-offs for the continent as a whole, not just in terms of increased employment, additional revenue and new skills, but also in terms of changing the perception the developed world has about Africa.

IT == Plumbers? (2, Interesting)

dustinbarbour (721795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796884)

Eventually, the IT industry will be spread evenly across the entire globe. We're like plumbers. Everyone needs a plumber and everyone needs PC techs, IT managers, et cetera. I'm sure the plumbing industry started out in a few locales and plumbers got pissed when their company decided to hire plumbers and train plumbers in Africa instead of sending the plumbers back at home to do the job.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796889)

...and we were afraid of all our jobs going to India 5 minutes ago, all of our jobs going to China 10 minutes ago, all of our jobs going to Mexico 15 minutes ago, and of all our jobs going to Japan a full 20 minutes ago! That's quite a turnover rate.

Same old corporate welfare (3, Insightful)

danharan (714822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796911)

It is also vital that African countries nurture tertiary education, customizing tertiary education courses to capture the market and produce the needed skills to be attractive to investors.
Yay, let's encourage corporate welfare for foreign corporations!

In this tested and failed system, multinational corporations no longer need to pay training costs for their workforce. Governments also compete by subsidizing infrastructure - and sometimes by direct cash subsidies too.

God forbid we actually train Africans in IT so that they could deal solve their own economic challenges.

Whine as much as you wish, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796914)

But in the long term all this outsourcing will be a good thing.

They took are jobzzz! (0, Redundant)

LoadingTheOwner (800083) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796920)

They took are jobzzzzzz!

You gotta love Gartner (4, Informative)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796921)

Oh yes, offshore outsourcing is going to be huge! Oh and by the way, we do have our own offshore outsourcing consullting services! [gartner.com]
Not saying they are wrong, but you just gotta wonder if they may have alterior motives....

Re:You gotta love Gartner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9797013)

the word you meant to say was "ulterior"

WorkForce Strength (4, Insightful)

Greenisloved (689734) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796933)

Reasons why India is better to Invest:

1.Upcoming Youth workForce:

I would like to remind everyone, that 50% of indian population is below 25 years of age and only 54% of popuation are literate.Slowly this is improving , people are imbibing english into their lifestyle more.After Bangalore, New Delhi ,Mumbai Hyderabad ,Chennai there are other cities like pune,Ahmedabad , Coimbatore ,Mysore coming up big time to meet up the standards.upLittle towns have already become better.Villages are improving etc.Looks like workforce is improving

2.Upcoming alternative IT workforce:

Already there are overwhelming amount of indians whose undergrad major is mechanical or electrical or some other non comp-sci degree but still they are seduced for quick bucks in IT.Honestly if u have good aptitudde and some basics of programming, one can sustain in IT field with hardwork.I was thus saying there is an upcoming workforce there.

3.upcoming Quality English Workforce:

Importance of english is overstressed in schools.Indians watch a whole lot of English movies , listen to Music and its almost a status symbol if you are good with english.And besides , Nerds are the heroes in India.You would watch Indian heroes in movies are projected to have a strong academic background .Anyone who can bring big bucks to the family is hailed and treated like a hero.So English workforce is improving tremendously.India has 18 official languages.Jus imagine if People in US speak so many languages.Languages come with diverse culture,customs etc.And English is undoubtedly the uniting factor among diverse Indians.All Work is documented in English becuz most of them dont know many regional languages.

4.Content with Salary
:
Most of the people with non comp sci majors who work in other areas earn half as comp sci workers.And if an IT employee asks for more money , that reform would not be easy cuz there are so many talented Indians wthout jobs stalking streets day and night to bring themselves and their families to a decent existence.Btw , The salaries provided to many IT people are very high already.They enjoy superior life style.The point is "Salary increase is minimal and would not be a burden to investros".So in the long run, they are stable and cheap.

I would still invest in India , cuz

1.Abundant and still latent talented English speaking IT workforce
2.Upcoming Quality of workforce
3.Democracy and approachable govt policies.
4.Already Established.
5.Investment cost is low and not likely to grow higher and would propagate to different unexplored places.

Sorry for the long Article , couldnt condense..

I just called tech support (1)

1000101 (584896) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796939)

and this is what they had to say [uni-stuttgart.de]

Not a Chance (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796944)

Africa is FUCKED! Their idea of outsourcing will never work... Africa doen't even have electricity and African's programming. These guys don't know what they are talkin about

Just say "NO" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796948)

A few days ago, I had a problem with my CitiBank credit card and had to call them to have it corrected. I discovered that they have outsourced their level-1 customer service to India. Since the 'system' was messed up, they couldn't forward any calls back to the US if a problem required a level-2 supervisor. That cost me several hundred dollars.

I cancelled the card "with extreme prejudice" - CitiBank just lost my business for LIFE! I'm now in the process of divesting myself, whenever possible, of all dealings with US companies who outsource customer service.

You want to build your hard drives, tennis shoes, or north-bridge chips in East Korea, Outer Elbonia, or the United Republic of Dirt & Rocks and then import them? No problem - just make sure there is an AMERICAN I can bitch at when the damned thing breaks!

Re:Just say "NO" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796970)

OOOOOOOOPS...my bad...not enough coffee yet - the outsourcing bank was CAPITAL ONE. That's the one I cancelled for their customer service policy.

I cancelled my CitiBank card a long time ago for being thieving BASTARDS!

So what happens when... (2, Insightful)

Christopher_Wood (583494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796955)

...all these outsourcing companies run out of newer, cheaper places to go? Asia, Africa, South America - all these places, as they climb the economic ladder, will eventually not be the cheapest place to outsource labour to.

I wonder what sort of economic adjustments will happen when price isn't such a huge consideration in the provision of IT services?

Re:So what happens when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796978)

Yeah, but you see once all the jobs go from india to africa labor will become cheap in india again!

Then they will move back and the african jobs will become cheap again!

Basically it will run in cycles sort of like the boom-bust process inherent in any capitalist economy.

Famous Negro Mathematicians (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796966)

Join with Slashdot, and celebrate the world of Negro Mathematics. Diversity is our strength!

Top Ten List of Oustanding Negro Mathematicians:

at what point should we worry that (2, Insightful)

holy_smoke (694875) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796975)

Core business functions like customer support, coding, design, and manufacturing are leaving North America?

Admittedly I am a tin-foil hatter by nature, but its scary to me that corporations are throwing work en masse over the borders seemingly without concern for long term impact (loss of core competency in the North American organizations) or strategic risks (war, etc).

At what point to we say to ourselves, "shit, we just sold the farm but we still need to plant crops(!)"

And so on.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9796997)

Why does this whole process inspire such incredulation?

If this news surprised you, read a book called The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman.

Free market capitalism + globalisation != cosy local careers and industry

Does this mean that we've given up an element of social control to market forces? Yes.

Will the multinationals hesitate to move on to the next cheapest location? No.

To take a lead from the poll.. Those who can, vote. Those who can't, act shocked when things like this happen.
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