Monday, November 3, 2008

Kenya positions itself as Africa’s outsourcing hub

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Kenya is positioning itself as the business processing and outsourcing hub in readiness for the merger of Africa’s regional trading blocs.

Businesses in Kenya are preparing for an expanded market of more than 600 million people in 26 countries when Africa’s largest trading bloc— the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) merges with the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and the East African Community (EAC).

Leaders of the 26 countries met in Kampala two weeks ago and approved plans to integrate the blocs to offer the continent an expanded free trade area and customs union.

According to President Mwai Kibaki, the ongoing laying of the fibre optic cable and the improvement and expansion of major roads will open Kenya as a centre for business processing and outsourcing (BPO) when the regional trading blocs open up the continent for trade.

Offshore businesses have turned to BPO—contracting out production processes to manufacturers in other regions— in a move aimed at cutting costs.
American firms such as Adidas and Nike produce their sports goods in China where labour costs are considered low.

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