Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates
You might have noticed that Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has been some kind of a running theme here on Techzim lately. BPO is just a fancy term meaning getting to do jobs for companies without being part of their internal team. Most times this term is used in reference to cross border outsourcing of jobs.
That this is a running theme is motivated by the fact that from the beginning of January we have been getting a lot of calls from the American and European, businesses of all sorts asking about the availability of developers to send projects to. We will be sharing some of these opportunities here; in fact we already shared one such opportunity already.
The first reason why there are jobs coming from these places is that there is actually a global shortage of developers right now. One estimate says North America alone is gonna need to outsource jobs to 1.8 million developers around the world just to meet their needs.
Related to the above, there is the obvious fact that the world is going towards a reality where everything is connected to the internet. IoT and the shared economy are going to keep transforming how we interact with physical objects and all else we can think of. This introduces a big demand for techies who will build all this infrastructure and maintain it.
The other reason why developed countries will be looking to Africa and Asia for developers is that it’s expensive to hire this kind of talent in their countries. What we consider to be big bucks in this part of the world is a fraction of what maybe an entry level developer will cost them. The developed economies are very competitive markets hence any kind of cost reduction goes a long way in determining who stays in the business boxing ring and who gets knocked out as competition forces revenues downwards for all players.
This is especially the case with small businesses in Europe and North America. They sometimes have to compete with giants like Google and Microsoft or whoever else. These giants have resources to drown out the little guy before little guy can prove that they actually have a better value proposition for their customer segment. Little guy then innovates by sending developer jobs to Africa just to cut costs and stay in the ring long enough to prove their salt to their customers.
Outsourcing to Africa and Asia is also strategic for companies like Facebook that have a global footprint. The realities of the markets in which these businesses were first launched and are headquartered are very different from realities here in the developing world. A good example of this is that access to the internet is several magnitudes more expensive here than it is in the West when you consider income levels. The quality of that connectivity is also usually poorer.
This difference in cost and quality of access to the internet made the Facebook app almost a no no for Zimbabweans. Thank goodness Facebook then introduced Facebook Lite which uses less data. Solutions for market specific problems are best built by individuals who live in those markets because they have context and they understand the nuances of the problem to be solved. A lot of these big businesses are hence outsourcing to our side of the world just so they can more effectively solve problems for these markets and extend their global foothold.
First, for Europe Zimbabwe is just one or two hours ahead on the world clock. This makes collaboration easy because we share almost similar business hours.
For the English speaking countries, Zimbabwe speaks English, decent English at that hence communication is not a big problem. Some UK people also say they don’t struggle understanding the Zimbabwean accent as they do with the Indian accent or other African accents when speaking English. I guess kunoza kuya kwakubatsira.
Generally I am considered a mercenary against our education system but ironically one of the advantages Zimbabwe has is it’s education. Not really the technical education (coding primarily), we are not doing too well there. Our broad basic education makes it easier for us to learn other skills if we so wish and this is where we have the advantage. We also churn out graduates in droves and a good number of them don’t have employment when they exit school.
The changing political climate is also helping much. I know I have showed skepticism on just the mere proclamation that Zimbabwe is open for business. However, the changed stance of the Zimbabwean government has raised a lot of interest and attention towards us. We will be sharing more about some of the stuff we are observing.
We already introduced you to Secret Source, a company based in Spain that is recruiting a General Manager for Zimbabwe so they can open an office to recruit developers to work on projects with their teams in Spain and the UK for UK clients.
There is another UK company we have been talking to and they are interested in outsourcing jobs to Zim developers too. I asked them to tell me why they were casting their eye on Zimbabwe and I will let their response be the last thing in this article:
As an award-winning, fast-growing technology company here in the UK our biggest challenge is getting a hold of the right technical talent at the right time. Appreciating that we live in an expanding global world, we started playing with the idea of extending our UK development team by recruiting foreign-based developers, we took the plunge in early 2017 and employed a top quality Zimbabwean developer based in South Africa.
Almost 12 months in, this developer has not only blended well with the UK team but has brought a wealth of knowledge to the table in an extremely short amount of time. Off the back of this positive experience, the recent changes in the political climate, affordable access to broadband internet across the country and the fact that the majority of the population can speak good fluent English we have decided to look a lot closer at Zimbabwean developers. In the next few months, we are looking to set up a local office to further expand our distributed team.
PS: Watch our Jobs section and our article feed for these opportunities. We will be announcing them as we come across them. All the best to all of us…
all the countries you have mentioned Zimbabwe has ambassadors did this came from them or you want them to be fire for not knowing their role spare me a cleaning job i will be very grateful
Hey never thought of that…
Yea we have a problem
This is an excellent development. We have huge potential in BPO in other fields as well like Accounting, Customer Support etc. Zimbabwe will be great again!
Totally agree. There is a lot we can do. We just have to re-imagine some few things chete
I believe we have potential. All we need is proper training for our graduates, even non graduates. The only thing that lacks in most Zim people is just experience and exposure. Once one overcomes this, they are unstoppable. We have to takeover all BPO fields as mentioned by Charles. Another area similar is remoting, I’m seeing some companies in Europe advertising remoting jobs. All you need is high speed reliable internet and to be in a time zone close to Europe
We need to get the message across to those in education and those responsible for policy somehow. We have quite some work to do but it is achievable
I see a situation where someone will become their local proxy and will pay developers a fraction of what they should actually earn. The proxy will pocket the real money while devs will get bond notes.
We need to solve trust issues obviously. Check out Andela in Nigeria, their model can work here. Of course the people who will be forming relationships and putting it all together will need to do it commercially.
Even so, let’s say the developers are paid peanuts. The one thing that they will gain that is way more important is the exposure to new technologies, different problems, different work cultures.
i think its all speculation, having an interest and actually doing it are two different things. no one will invest in this place until after elections imo.
Isn’t it ironic that you are speculating that this is speculation as you further speculate that no one is investing before elections and you present these your speculations as fact. This on the other hand is an article that is linking to another article that is essentially a job offer for a General Manager to head up operations for a European business opening in Zim. Secondly, I am aware of investors who have put in money and they did way back in January. It looks like it’s just Zimbabweans who are waiting for the elections.
However, I also think that before elections we will have way less activity than after the elections
I know some developers hired by North American Companies n startups n are getting top dollar 💵 whilst they are here.
They have been at it for atleast 3 years now
1 tried to mentor some graduates, n they fled.. 1 went into teaching another some funny job. #ShaviReHurombe
It can be done when people start using Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack, to further themselves, economically
ko tipe ka madetails acho
This is interesting, it would be like emulating India which really benefited from customer services outsourcing. But how do you then take this from being just a conversation to putting this into action? What exactly hinders us from having these BPO companies ourselves and then later approaching multinationals? Surely our own businesses would benefit from such, for example our very own telecoms giant Econet which makes you wait half an hour for customer service
I think most are waiting to see this proven to work before they consider setting up firms that do this kind of thing. But yes, the opportunity is there for these companies to work.
Oh yes, India benefited a lot from having jobs outsourced to them. It becomes a beautiful cycle: the more jobs you get, the better you become because of exposure etc and the more jobs you attract
But then thats part and parcel of entreprenuership, we have to be willing to take these risks because there are huge rewards that come with.
“I know I have showed skepticism” its meant to be I HAVE SHOWN.
Is this me proving you wrong or proving you right? (about education system)
Hahahaha you got me!
Correcting this immediately. I don’t know what that means now about our education system….
Thanks for the heads up….
please let me know if there is anywhere in Harare one can be taught how to code, currently i am learning most staff on google.
Comments are closed.
Except where otherwise noted, content on and from this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.