South Africa is an important player in the field of outsourcing, with the majority of business
process outsourcing (BPO) providers participating in Impact Sourcing. But despite these
successes, rural workers in South Africa still make significantly lower wages than their urban counterparts, bringing challenges to Impact Sourcing Service Providers (ISSPs).
While the cost of living might be lower in some rural areas, to provide true economic impact, ISSPs are challenged with helping those residents make livable wages. The South African
government announced plans several years ago to create ten rural contact centers to increase opportunities to rural workers.
The long-term goal was to make South Africa an outsourcing leader, but as of 2013, those centers are not yet a reality. The challenge then falls to ISSPs like Samasource, who brings large-scale projects for big names like Google and Microsoft to work centers around the world. Samasource contracts with local partners to locate and manage talent. Many of these workers were originally living on as little as $3 a day but by working with Samasource, they are able to improve their position in life, with many moving on to pursue higher education.
Still, Samasource and other ISSPs haven’t yet made as much of an impact on South Africa’s rural communities. Rural South Africa already has a more robust power and internet infrastructure than many rural areas of India, providing an ideal setting for the work centers South Africa’s government proposed.
As ISSPs shift their focus from urban South Africa to rural areas of the country, it’s important to level the playing field between rural and urban workers. The challenge in South Africa is to increase worker wages, putting them more in line with big-city workers in the country. The best way to do that is through training, education, and experience—three things ISSPs are adept at providing.