The Forum conference venue in Johannesburg, South Africa, was a hive of activity on October 12 as dignitaries and delegates attended the annual Solutions Exchange 2023. Hosted by Harambee, the event brought together thought leaders from various sectors to discuss South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis, which affects 8.8 million young individuals. Panelists from diverse sectors – including banking, government, packaging, and retail, among others – showcased innovative approaches to youth employment. Existing initiatives that were mentioned include hiring previously unemployed youth in customer service kiosks, empowering communities through small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and supporting work readiness through training programs and apprenticeships. The need for a coordinated, demand-led approach to skills development was a recurring theme, along with an emphasis on public–private partnerships for sustainable solutions – seeing government work together with the private sector to support youth development.

In Florida, a manager of a call center has been convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in relation to a sophisticated call center scam. The deceptive telemarketing campaign targeted Medicare beneficiaries and doctors, and it involved requesting and submitting false medical claims. The scam is estimated to be valued at US$67 million.

In the European Union, Finland and Sweden have selected VFS Global to manage Schengen visa applications in Cyprus. The company offers a range of services related to visa administration. This outsourcing initiative is expected to make the visa application process more efficient for both the visa administration teams and applicants.  With 3,350 application centers and operations in 147 countries across five continents, VFS Global has processed over 270 million applications since its inception in 2001, and over 125.21 million biometric enrolments since 2007.

In an effort to capitalize on the country’s nearshoring trend, Mexico has implemented large tax incentives to entice investors. Ten sectors will be covered in the incentive scheme, including automotive, pharmaceuticals, and electronic components, among others. This is expected to further cement the growth of nearshoring activities in Mexico, where foreign direct investment has grown by over 40% in 2023 alone. Mexico was also ranked as a top location for global customer service and support services in the 2023/24 GBS World Competitiveness Index: CX and Back Office.

Over in Uzbekistan, ICT Week 2023 is set to take place on October 23. The event will see companies, policymakers, thought leaders, and investors come together to discuss IT outsourcing (ITO) opportunities in the region. Over the last five years, Uzbekistan has experienced rapid development of its business process outsourcing (BPO) and ITO sectors, and this is believed to be due to initiatives from IT Park – a facilitator in IT initiatives that was established by the country’s President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. IT Park wishes to see the country’s BPO sector increase steadily, with a market target value of US$5 billion by 2030.

In global news, a new report on the telecom outsourcing market has been published by the worldwide market research report firm, Industry Research Co. The report analyses the industry and its key players, with in-depth discussions on current trends, opportunities, and forecasts. According to the report, the global telecom outsourcing market is expected to be worth US$24.5 billion by 2028.

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