Africa’s technological acceptance has steadily grown over the years with its youthful population, 60% of Africa’s population is under the age of 25.
Africa is closely watched as the next big growth market – a description that has persisted for a while. Remote working although not novel to the business sector has more than necessarily been struck as the way forward in a time where the world battles with COVID-19, with the feasibility of an astute combination of extrinsic expertise and sturdy technological platforms, corporations and finance leaders in Africa can incorporate these archetype measures to propagate business continuity on the continent where some of the worlds fastest growing countries – the jewels of Africa struggle to maintain economic growth during the pandemic.
Most businesses have long adopted the concept of outsourcing. Corporations, business leaders, human resource managers, and CFO’s have adopted outsourcing dispositions for various purposes, with the prevalent being to overwhelm the challenges associated with high cost of staffing, to surmount difficulties in finding skilled human resources in the local market or wholly absent human resources, and to allocate supplementary sustenance during peak workload periods.
As Africa’s total case count of COVID-19 soars above a million case counts, corporations have been left to deal with unprecedented obstacles. Currently, corporations have to regularly adjust already existing operating modules in order to navigate the mayhem facing Africa’s economies as the crisis keep surging. In the wake of the pandemic, national governments in Africa were brisk to apply travel restrictions and bans, social distancing measures, as well as partial and total lockdowns; swiftly, it was without doubt that the need to adapt to remote work or “work-from-home” environment was indispensable for business continuity towards the continents goal of future growth.
Clenching onto the new work environment
Upon the panic across Africa as imported cases started to surface, corporations were prompt to fortify HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) measures at the workplace while not jeopardizing business continuity. In-house Tech and Compliance teams and I.T departments were put under enormous hassle to clasp and fulfill the abrupt I.T requirements in mammoth capacities while ensuring that material controls and data security were not compromised.
As the impact of the crisis continues to unravel, the continents nations need to see the opportunities to change their economies dependency on agriculture and minerals while making use of the service industry with the nation’s large youthful population. Africa needs to desist from resuming “BAU” after the worst of the crisis. For the continent to be able to execute its contingency plans to the full extent, unemployment amongst the millennial population should be a priority for governments. According to the 2019 figures from AfDB (African Development Bank), it estimates the number of unemployed young people on the continent at nearly 60%. Today, the continent is still facing disruption in the service industry that makes nearly 20% of the working population and requires immediate capacity support for immediate capacity support for critical functions in order to provide more employment opportunities, outsourcing inclusive.
For Africa where the population is fragile and poor, recovery for business is expected to be long and painful. Consequently, corporations are progressively focused on novel ways to create efficiency within internal functions while emphasizing on adequate capacity planning to initiate business projects and poverty alleviation initiatives. This crisis has brought to the fore the nee for unification of technological platforms and increased millennial employment to allow automation and management of certain key functions.
Why is outsourcing more appropriate?
Considering that corporations have been subject to a tussle of having to deal with remote working in a business market with many operational hurdles spanning from poor internet network connectivity, to high cost of internet access, it is clear that outsourcing can bring much needed relief along these lines:
Hone focus on principal areas: With respect to certain functions such as accounting and compliance, hinging to an outsourcing arrangement can help corporate leaders focus on key areas that yield higher margins while maintaining calm that these back-office functions (which are considered delicate and high maintenance and non-core) are being tended to in an efficient and timely manner. With this strategy companies will have more than enough dedication to more local resources to regulatory matters such as complying with economic substance requirements.
Lower capital expenditure on staff: Outsourcing allows companies to have available technical expertise while reducing the need for capital outlay. This even more important in times when businesses have to deal with dispersed workforce, most often unable to travel and not operating in full capacity.
Flexibility in operating and satisfying staff needs: Implementing an outsourcing model that sits alongside the core operational team provides companies the desire to upscale and downscale outsourced staff depending on business necessity.
Access high-end technology at affordable costs: Companies can leverage their investment on outsourcing service providers that have high-end technology and secure network to ensure robust and efficient processing of data without the need to invest in any in-house technological facilities. Companies in high cost internet, and low bandwidth accessibility regions can outsource from providers in favourable regions across the continent.
Secure business continuity: Company facilities and resources in an outsourcing model over a long run become an add-on commodity to the companies core team and provides the company with a strong skill force and access to having a disaster resource centre situated in a different location.
What it means for corporations
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, African businesses were showing signs of change with the dawn of new shared workspaces popping up in every country, the growth of entrepreneurship, startups and the acceptance of technology. Business leaders were already innovating with new and flexible labour models prompted by the generational expectations of the millennial workforce, the cost criteria, the shifting landscape of technological disruption and the need for agility to take advantage of new business opportunities.
However, what may have been tentative experimentation before COVID-19 has now become a pressing need that organisations can no longer afford to ignore and, in fact, would be well advised to fully leverage. This pandemic has sown the seeds of an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate new and diverse staffing strategies and open the doors wide to innovative technologies that can forever increase the agility and resilience of the organisation.
Author: Andrew Hardy