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KEPSA expands Ajira Digital Programme to reduce unemployment gap

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) in partnership with various stakeholders has foreseen the global expansion of the Ajira Digital Programme via Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) aiming to investigate ways that reduce unemployment gap in the country.

BPO under the theme ‘Promoting Kenya as a Global Destination Hub for Outsourcing of Work’ seeks to unlock an assortment of international opportunities, understand the current landscape and create relevant incentives.

It also advocates for policy regulations and business support by the government while enhancing competition in both domestic and offshore markets thus creating jobs.

According to a report by the Kenya Investment Authority (KIA), BPO has grown an average of 20 per cent annually employing over 36,000 people in revenue of $400 million each year.

The report indicates that with good governance and an enabling environment for BPO, more dignified work could be created as a result to provide quality life that contributes positively to the national economy.

KEPSA Chairperson Flora Mutahi said that the Ajira Digital Programme Initiative would not only offer job creation to the youth but also provide digital solutions to businesses, and in so doing, promote Kenya’s economy.

Mutahi affirmed that BPO is crucial as it provides a range of services around the world such as increased flexibility, reduced cost, and enhanced service quality allowing businesses to refocus their efforts on the core activities by delivering implemental value to all their customers and their processes.

“The Global BPO market price was valued at $261.9Billion last year and is projected to expand at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.4 per cent from 2023 to 2030. This increased demand for BPO services cuts across different sectors like Healthcare, Banking, Pharmaceuticals, Financial services, Insurance plus Information and Telecommunication,” remarked the Chairperson.

She emphasized that the BPO industry has grown significantly over the years and the State is gradually being recognized as a key outsourcing destination in Africa citing a report by KIA which revealed the industry has had a growth rate of 20 per cent annually over the past five years.

In a speech read on her behalf by the Digital Skills and Values ICT Sector Board Chair Davis Waithaka, Mutahi noted that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) harbors a market of over 1.2 billion people across 55 African countries with a Gross domestic Product of $ 3.4 trillion creating one of the world’s largest free trade areas thus facilitating African trade and boosting economic growth.

She added that AfCFTA aims to progressively eliminate the tariffs and non-tariffs barriers of trade among countries by stimulating trade flows, encouraging investment and promoting industrialization across the continent as it presents significant opportunities for the private sector including Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Echoing her remarks, ICT and the Digital Economy Administrative Secretary Mohammed Jabane said that the Ministry has numerous flagship programmes like installation of 100,000 km of high speed fibre optic infrastructure, establishment of 25,000 internet hotspots, cloud services, 1450 village digital hubs, regional smart ICT hub and the Kenya E-waste program.

Jabane mentioned that the project is envisaged to provide last mile broadband connectivity at identified hubs consequently promoting digital inclusion and equip the youth with skills to access online jobs.

Jabane added that the project seeks to position Kenya as the choice of labour destination for multinational companies as well as encourage local companies and the public sector in creating digital work.

He stated that the government would work hand in hand with its partners to develop policies that support the initiative, mobilize platforms to work, engage more partners, job linkages and offer e-commerce via the National Addressing System.

“Opportunity lies in improving BPO’s off shore outsourcing capabilities as the domestic sourcing of BPO is insufficient to absorb the pool of 1.9 million digital freelancers in the country according to the National Study in 2022,” Jabane maintained.

By Phinta Amondi

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