As part of Drishti’s focus on developing economies I got a chance to visit Africa a few weeks back. The initial thoughts were Africa as a market How interesting could it be?. To my surprise it turned out to be an amazing opportunity at hand for those who are willing to dig deeper.
In this trip we looked at two clusters South and East Africa. I got a chance to visit Mauritius and South Africa in South, Kenya and Tanzania in East.
Mauritius is a well established BPO destination for its multilingual capabilities. French and English are widely spoken and understood. The island is culturally a beautiful place with a mix of Indian and French community. Apart from BPOs which is a well understood market we also got to know of Enterprises and their hunger to automate for efficiency.
South Africa was a contrast to other markets and is a mature market. We got a chance to visit JoBurg as well as Cape Town. The enterprises there are already exploring alternate delivery models like hosted contact center and managed services. This is going to be an interesting market for us and yes for the table top mountain and beautiful vines Cape Town would stay as a favored destination to visit.
Next was Zimbabwe, as an outsider the only view I had was that they play cricket and their currency situation in early 2000 is a case study on hyper inflation. Talking to the locals I understood that their economy is strong because of the belief the people have in hard work and the hunger to learn. The knowledge is limited and in the context of things. When I gave a presentation to a bank on tools to automate a call center, the only question I was asked was why do we need a call center. This has led me to believe that this market needs a lot of expertise and selling would never be needed if you can be a trusted friend.
Kenya was last on the tour and I felt closer to home. The Insurance and Telecom sector is on a boom and the customer on the street demands much more service because of competition. I believe that in coming years Kenya would become an example of growth for other African countries.
The trip was an eye opener and for those looking to build products do consider Africa as a serious market. For a simple reason which I learnt from founders of Comviva, someone asked him why should we sell in Africa and he replied if we will not – then who will?
I look forward to working closely in this market and be a part of this wonderful growth story. No wonder Shakiras song plays in all countries – It’s time for Africa.