Every time I dial a customer service number and talk to an operator in India, I get an itch. Can Rwanda attract tech giants such as Intel, Cisco or Microsoft as a go-to outsourcing destination just like India and Singapore have?
(Other budding outsourcing destinations include Brazil, Morocco, Philippines and Kenya) Think of the opportunity tech support call centers would present to Rwandan students.
In fact, this is probably the best thing that Rwanda could do to propel itself into the IT world.
Starting off with software verification, a platform would be set up for heavy-duty software development later on. With the heavy focus on training provided by companies from the US and Canada that want to cut costs in their home nations, Rwanda would reap the benefit of job creation (at no heavy risk to the companies because support doesn’t entail much innovation) and increased flux of experienced engineers from whom we can shamelessly glean as much as possible.
It is a starting point if we look at India as a case in point; giants Infosys technologies and Tata Consultants, have metamorphosed from small outsourcing firms to international consulting heavyweights employing thousands across all continents but most importantly sparking a spirit of innovation in their own country.
Rwanda can exploit the fact that India and Singapore have become more expensive and essentially provide a cheaper alternative to business process outsourcing like software development costs, data center operations and network management.
And we have what it takes…
The political stability in tandem with a visionary government is key; Rwanda could attract foreign tech companies by offering incentives and free-trade policies and creating a favorable business environment.
The strong education policy in Rwanda also means there is a skilled workforce ready for the task.
That’s not all: a wired country with optical fibers snaking all over the country-and the development of the Kalisimbi mast project-the stable but growing IT infrastructure required for this business exists already. There is also sufficient infrastructure and floor space given all the rising buildings in Kigali.
Rwanda has an increased advantage because of the prevalence of French and English speakers; American, Canadian and French companies would see immense advantage in paying one person to assist people on multiple continents.
Naturally, we won’t just have our cake and eat it. Strong intellectual property (IP) laws would have to be created and extra effort invested in creating stable quality systems that match up (or surpass) international standards.
Tech support culture training would be inevitable in order to make the customer experience thousands of miles away, favorable; this means accents, nuances, etc.
I have to say reliability of power (electricity) might be an issue to contend with, albeit a minor one.Follow https://twitter.com/rwandalavender