by Gayle Pescud
Few know that A.T.Kearney rated Ghana as sub-Saharan Africa's number one Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) destination in 2005 and, as of June 2009, the nation's achievements in this field look set to continue. Several bloggers reported on an agreement signed in early June between two leading ICT organisations that will provide unprecedented opportunities for ICT students, create thousands of jobs, and underpin the growth of this nascent industry.
Mr Eddie Turkson reported on the details of the agreement:
"THE Ghana Telecom University College (GTUC) has signed a partnership agreement with Rising Data Solutions Limited (RDS), a business process outsourcing (BPO) company, to train people and create jobs in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry.
Under the agreement, RDS will provide a curriculum and logistics in the field and train teachers to teach the course at the college, while GTUC would house the classrooms, hardware and teaching personnel for the implementation of the course.
The college will also absorb the class into its official curriculum where students who earn qualifying marks in the course will gain employment with RDS.
The President of GTUC, Dr Osei K. Darkwa, said the government had identified Information Technology Enabled Service (ITES) and the BPO industry as one of the key industries for the creation of jobs and the provision of marketable skills for the youth for the country to position itself as a destination of choice for outsourcing."
Ghana Voices defined the BPO industry as:
An information technology enabled service industry in which clients from other parts of the world subcontract services of which they have low competitive advantage over to local firms who have high competitive advantage in that area.
Ghana Voices also discussed the sector's potential to benefit the country, stating that:
It is estimated that the sector could provide over 37,000 jobs for the youth by 2011 in Ghana, with an added value to the country's economy of over 750 million dollars.
Bpoevents reported Dr Darkwa's hopes for students' skills development:
Dr. Darkwa expressed the hope that, the collaboration with RDS would equip the students in the areas like communication skills, computer skills, telemarketing, listening skills, accent neutralisation and keyboard skills which are required to succeed in the industry. Supporting this hope, Mr A. J. Whitman, RDS's Public Relations Manager, said that this partnership was part of RDS's campaign to bring more jobs to Ghana.
Daikieusown quoted Mr Whitman as saying:
We are proud of this partnership with GTUC, in large part because both parties recognize that the private sector cannot grow without the education sector, and vice versa. While still fledging in Ghana, RDS is banking on their ability to drive the sector by strategic partnerships, allowing skills development based on knowledge sharing that benefits all stakeholders, most importantly students.
The BPO industry has been a significant economic driver of countries such as India, Malaysia, and the Philippines, which had been responsible for the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.
Even Vodaphone, noted Eddie Turkson, commented on the agreement:
The Head of Corporate Communication, Vodaphone, Mr Albert Don-Chebe, gave assurance that Vodaphone was strongly behind the deal and commended RDS for having the courage to invest in Ghana, despite the challenges.
During the ceremony, Dr Darkwa mentioned that the challenges facing the industry were the "shortage of manpower which was restricting its growth", as reported by Ghana Voices, and that:
It was to reverse this trend that the GTUC signed the MOU with the RDS to develop a talent pipeline in the short and long term, which would ensure continuous supply of trained manpower to feed the industry.
His colleague, Dr. Robert Baffour, The Vice President of GTUC, further stressed that GTUC would continue to develop all necessary platforms and build the requisite foundation to place Ghana on the technology map
Daikieusown quoted Dr Baffour:
GTUC has been the leader in ICT activities in the country and would continue to lead and chart the way forward for our country.""
on the evening of the ceremony in Accra.
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