Business process outsourcing: A new development initiative for South Africa
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South African Economic Development strategy has in the previous 15 years, and even leading back as far as the late 1950s, followed the bias of conventional modernisation theory which traditionally equates economic development, and associated job creation, with industrialisation. However, in the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGI-SA), the South African government’s most recent Economic Development Strategy document, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Tourism, both Service sectors, have been put forward as the priority sector development areas. This mini-thesis outlines the factors and evolving economic development theories, both global and national, which have contributed to this shift in strategy. This study pays detailed attention to the BPO sector by reviewing and establishing its capacity and potential to meaningfully contribute to economic growth and accelerated job creation, globally and, specifically in South Africa, in reference to the South African government’s stated development objectives. ‘Exportable’ Services, and specifically the BPO sector, has only in recent years shown its potential as a significant contributor to economic development, and South Africa and other developing nations have little precedent and few guidelines as to how best develop the sector to achieve accelerated economic growth and job creation, thus, this study goes further by outlining possible strategic development issues for successful development of the BPO sector in South Africa. The underlying message of this thesis is that there is a case for development strategists and planners to continue to investigate, pursue and prioritise the development of ‘exportable’ service sectors.