India, South Africa Should Tap BPO Projects Together

New Delhi: | Updated: Aug 27 2003, 05:30am hrs
India and South Africa should look at partnering rather than competing for the same business process outsourcing (BPO) assignments. Stating this while on a visit to India, South Africas Directorate of Trade and Industry (DTI) director general Dr Alistair Ruiters invited Indian companies to come to South Africa and utilise its inherent advantages for greater mutual benefit.

Addressing a meeting at Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Monday night, Dr Ruiters said, India and South Africa share a lot in common and there exists a lot of opportunities to be tapped by both nations on the way to attaining economic prosperity. We share a common path of development, unbound opportunities and a collective vision, which can go a long way in strengthening the bonds of cooperation between the two nations.

On the issue of India and South Africa eyeing the same BPO assignments, Dr Ruiters said, India is a not a competitor. We invite Indian companies to come to South Africa and utilise the local skills, time zone advantage and telecom infrastructure for greater mutual benefit.

We also welcome labour-intensive, infrastructure projects from India. Currently 40 per cent of South African trade is shared by the European Union (EU) and nearly 12 per cent by Asia. We seek to increase this figure by creating a strong India-South Africa partnership and working hard for it, he added.

South Africa faced an enormous challenge in 1994 but has worked its way up and has registered year-on-year growth since then. The key challenges facing South Africa as a nation include unemployment and skill development, infrastructure development and use of IT as a tool to enhance development initiatives, said Dr Ruiters.

He further elaborated that development in South Africa may not produce quick results but it is based on principles of equity and growth. He remarked that growth without equity is unsustainable and that is precisely what South Africa is trying to avoid.

Dr Ruiters heads DTI, a body which defines, initiates and manages South Africas bilateral and regional exports, imports and investments. In course of charting the path for economic development of South Africa, DTI has selected India as a key economic and strategic partner.