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08 March, 2012

Ready For Konza City?

Konza city is an ambitious plan by the Kenyan government to transform a grass land into one of the most successful IT hub in the world akin to silicon valley in California, USA.

Alot has been said about this masterpiece, but one thing still remains, is Kenya ready for Konza by the year 2032 or is this a futuristic city that will be brought to life by the next generation.


So far the government has popularised the city locally and internationally.According to a recent advert,the project has generated  immense interest from foreign firms and individuals who have reserved 60% of  the initial 500ha of phase I.

Now lets see, what can we learn from the Asian tigers who are currently leading in technology and BPOs or even from the silicon valley itself?Can Kenya really compete internationally or are we just dreaming.

In these countries there is more interaction between Universities and the industry, where intellectual property rights are respected and they easily make it to the commercial environment.

Silicon valley for instance grew after a Stanford university dean encouraged faculty and graduates to start their own companies, this therefore, created a convergence of innovations on one site of new technological knowledge; a large pool of skilled engineers and scientists from major universities in the area; generous funding from an assured market with the Defense Department; the development of an efficient network of venture capital firms; and, in the very early stage, the institutional leadership of the university.

In India a government initiative to transform  Bangalore into an  IT hub has bore fruits making India one of the leading outsourcing  destinations in the world,It now boast of several  techno-cities.The Following are some of the reasons quoted by one IT expert  why leading global corporates opt for Call Center Outsourcing to India. :-

Efficient work force - Numerous attributes of the Indian manpower like great spoken English, well educated, technically skilled and mass scale availability on much lower remuneration makes India a popular destination for call center outsourcing. Moreover, research reveals that this kind of quality human resources will never cease due to the growing importance of education and a huge population of career oriented youth. 
Expert Service Availability - Due to technically ready base India provides services that cater to various kinds of customer supports. Be it a Voice process, Chat/Email support or Help desk service, expertise is provided with no compromise on the quality. India excels in both inbound and outbound call center services. Guaranteed proficiency is provided with regards to workforce, technology and operations.
Comfortable Time Zone - The twelve hour time difference in the Indian time zone makes India the number one choice for call centre outsourcing. This enables round the clock customer support to clients across the globe. 
Business Friendly Policies - Analyzing the benefits of the call centre outsourcing process and other IT ventures, the Indian government has gone a step ahead and pushed policies benefiting such endeavors. Tax exemptions/ benefits and support in building of effective infrastructure and Technology parks have inspired business owners in launching their own ventures. Polices like free export of capital goods and tax exemption on IT services and ITES exports makes India a clear winner in the call center outsourcing market.
Custom Made Infrastructure - India also benefits from outsourcing of call center services due to the presence of the latest infrastructure required for the ideal operation of such support processes. Excellent technology is put to work to get high quality of services. Also the cheap availability of the communication services is a factor boosting the growth.
Cost Saving Services - India emerges as the only nation to provide cost effective solutions to international inventors for call center outsourcing services. The outlay incurred on the human resource, IT setup and other infrastructure is comparatively less than other Asian and European countries.
Being a Leader in this fortune venture, call center outsourcing to India is a natural choice for various Global organizations. Moreover examples of major call center outsourcing ventures in India has encouraged other competitors in the world market to follow suit.

Another country that is posed to overtake India in call centre Outsourcing business is Philippines.To be competitive,The Filipino government streamlined its bureaucracy for companies setting up call centers and changed its rules to allow individual buildings to be designated special economic zones. Such zones offer tax breaks, quick clearances for building permits, and an exemption from import duties on computers and telecom gear. And some 40,000 students have benefited from government-sponsored training to improve their English and communication skills.

All in all, for Kenya to be competitive we need strong universities to spur research & innovation .The role of higher education in stimulating growth is illustrated most clearly in the cases of Kenya and South Korea.The two countries  were at the same stage of economic development in 1960s, with an average annual per capita income of about $100.While South Korea has experienced steady economic growth and emerged as a key player in the world economy, Kenya has still to attain its Millennium Development Goals, let alone begin to compete globally.When you look at investment made in Human capital and science in the education system you start  to get a rough idea why.If you look around the world the great technology hubs are associated with great universities.India For Instance, produces 400,000 graduate engineer every year which makes it way ahead in Outsourcing business of  more sophisticated services.

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