Egypt has established its position as a preferred destination for business process
outsourcing (BPO), according to a recent report published by Oxford Business Group (OBG), a British consultancy,
global publishing, and research firm.
OBG has lauded Egypt’s outstanding value propositions and how this helped in attracting business outsourcing firms
drawing on the country’s unique location between Europe, the Middle East and Africa; its youthful, educated,
tech-savvy and multi-lingual population; and strong IT infrastructure.
The budding segment has been supported by the government, which offers financial incentives to outsourcing
companies, and has invested in the necessary telecommunications infrastructure upgrades to support BPO, such as 4G
and fiber-optic cable networks; OBG noted.
The country’s success establishing itself as an outsourcing destination, where industry leaders are leveraging it
for their IT global service delivery; has created thousands of jobs, with the BPO workforce expanding from 169,000
in 2017 to 212,000 in 2019.
Indeed, this figure is projected to reach 240,000 in 2020. These jobs are filled by employees with specialized
skills, as the country produces around 220,000 graduates in BPO-related fields and 50,000 in ICT-related fields per
year. These students are also often multi-lingual, with the top languages of study being English, with 90,000
graduates per year; French, with 5400 graduates; and German, with 3000 graduates.
The report added that BPO firms are drawn to Egypt not only for its educated labor force and geographic location,
but also for its low costs. The average annual salary for a software developer in Egypt is $7500, down considerably
from $20,000 in Romania and Bulgaria, and $24,000 in Poland.
The country’s location also means it can accommodate work across varying time zones and allows companies to provide
business continuity between operations in the US and Asia.
OBG added that ICT development has accelerated, with public cloud servers and BPO emerging as core contributors to
the sector’s growth in recent years.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) projects that Egypt’s ICT exports – which include BPO and knowledge process
outsourcing – will expand from $3.3bn in 2017 to $4.7bn in 2020. It is also shifting from a specialization in
multi-lingual centers to providing high-value niche services, such as product development and research. As of 2018,
Egypt provided BPO services to some 100 countries in 20 languages.
A supportive start-up ecosystem and government investment have allowed innovative enterprises to focus on developing
services related to artificial intelligence, the internet of things and big data. The rollout of 5G will be another
notable step towards this end.
The government and telecom operators are investing in the network upgrades that are essential for the implementation
of 5G commercial services. In 2018 the National Telecom Regulatory Authority launched broadband fiber optics, a
necessity for technologies that rely on 5G.
Offshoring firms will be able to use these technologies, increasing Egypt’s competitiveness on a global scale.
“Egypt is effectively positioned to become a major hub of business and technology services to countries and
organizations that are undertaking digital transformation, particularly those in regions such as North America,
Europe, and MEA facing resource constraints,” Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC’s group VP and regional managing director for
the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, wrote in the German Outsourcing Association’s “Destinations Egypt 2.0:
Outsourcing Destination Guide 2019” report. “After establishing itself as a preferred regional outsourcing hub,
Egypt started expanding its global outsourcing footprint and is now one of the fastest-growing offshore destinations
in the world.”