Wednesday, December 26, 2007

World's next outsourcing hub: Kenya?

From The Christian Science Monitor:

The Kenyan government is pumping millions of dollars into improving the nation's outdated telecom industry.

The six clocks on the wall track time zones from the US Pacific seaboard, through the Midwest and across the Atlantic to Britain. Twenty or so computers sit idle, headsets resting on mouse pads waiting for the next shift of call center workers.

It could be a phone bank anywhere in the world but for the clock on the far right labeled "Kenya."

"People say to me, 'Wow, this is happening in Kenya? We only think of you for athletics and wildlife,' " says Gilda Odera, managing director of Skyweb-Evans in the heart of the capital, Nairobi. "But people are getting really interested in us."

Her call center and a dozen others are seeds of an industry that the government hopes will put the East African country on equal terms with India as an outsourcing destination.

The government is pumping millions of dollars into improving the country's outdated telecom system in an effort to capitalize on Kenya's large pool of English-speaking graduates....MORE