The challenges for Uganda as an outsourcer
“The challenge for Uganda is similar to that throughout Africa as only 22 percent of university graduates have STEM-related degrees,” says Wright. High-volume offshore outsourcing destinations typically see more than 40 percent technology-related degrees. There is also some continued fallout from former president Idi Amin’s decision to expel the country’s Asian minority population in 1972. “This has certainly limited any influence from the Indian providers,” Wright says. “Also, there is a large religious missionary presence in the country that has influenced the culture and limited the acceptance of progressive lifestyles and views.”
However, the National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (NITA-U), the Ugandan Investment Authority, and the country’s ambassadors are working together to raise awareness of the regional strengths capabilities and invite global delegations to the country with the goal of attracting corporations that will build out the country’s IT and BPO capabilities, shape future educational programs, and provide infrastructure support. The country has also set up incubators for IT and business process service business and other growth incentives.
“Anyone considering English language-based services in Latin America or the Philippines should consider Uganda,” Wright says. “There is a strong European and American influence leading to good cultural alignment with Ugandans.” Service desk, call centers, web development, and applications development and maintenance are all viable services available at a lower cost than in South Africa, for example. While salaries for software developers are higher in Uganda than the Philippines and India, attrition rates are less than 5 percent.
However, notes Wright, “owing to its landlocked location and the East African road challenge, Uganda would not be ideal for data center work or anything capital intensive.”
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