• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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AOPN eyes outsourcing opportunities in AfCFTA

Outsourcing

The Association of Outsourcing Professionals of Nigeria (AOPN) is eyeing to tap outsourcing opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

According to the association, AfCFTA creates bigger market opportunities for outsourcing practitioners in Africa’s biggest economy despite emerging competition from Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

Mope Abudu, treasurer and board member of AOPN and CEO of Night Foundation Consulting made this known during the 7th Fellowship Investiture and Membership Induction Ceremony themed ‘ Outsourcing Industries: Opportunities in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

Read also:Outsourcing can cut Nigeria’s drug import by 25%

According to her, Nigeria remains the go-to destination for outsourcing owing to its continuous skills in niche areas especially in the service sector, noting that the country is positioned to leverage the African outsourcing opportunities.

“Service-based outsourcing provides opportunities for countries that have very skilled labour as well as large populations and Nigeria is very rightly positioned to take advantage,” said Abudu.

“We have been building capacity to make sure that they become rightly exportable and first choice when the opportunities arise.

“We have also recognised that there are quite a few hurdles that have to be addressed in the AfCFTA agreement and AOPN is working with various organisations, agencies and parastatals to address these issues,” she said.

Speaking on the newly inducted fellows and corporate members, she said the association recognises members who have been instrumental in the growth of the association and also has a lot of potential in terms of service to push the agenda of outsourcing within Nigeria, the professionalism, opportunities and the visibility of its offerings.

Francis Anatogu, secretary of the Nigeria Nation Action Committee on the AfCFTA in his keynote address said that the AfCFTA agreement is about growing and diversifying the continent’s export base in both goods and services.

Anatogu stated that the ICT sector which outsourcing depends a lot on is a key area and with the pandemic, a lot of things are now happening remotely online.

He noted that as companies try to remain competitive and focus on their core areas amid the pandemic, outsourcing has become the way companies have to retain efficiency without affecting quality.

“The AfCTA agreement offers the Nigerian outsourcing industry the foundation to start providing services to companies across Africa,” he said.

“If the industry has the credential of rendering services locally, in other Africa countries then it can leverage that in its pitch to non-African countries.”

For the country to be a high outsourcing destination, he said it must have a super data highway and its broadband infrastructure needs to be world-class, adding that the country currently has tech-savvy manpower.

“The outsourcing is important because as we build the infrastructure, develop the resources and complement all of that.

“It is really about the digital ecosystem that we seek to create jobs and they create jobs that earn premium value.”

Speaking on some of the challenges in AfCFTA, he said that the Pan Africa Payment Settlement System has been launched to solve the issues around payments in intra-African trade.

He added that issues of tariffs reduction are currently being discussed and will take a five to 10 years period to resolve.

He added that resolving the current issues businesses face in intra-African trade is a work in progress as some would take days to resolve while some will take years.

He added that the more Africans trade among themselves, the more the problems confronting AfCFTA will get resolved.

He said that Nigeria’s outsourcing industry has started leveraging the opportunities created by the agreement, adding that the NAC is working with AOPN to identify the specific interventions that support them in crystallizing the opportunities AfCTA offers.

“Services account for 50percent of the country’s GDP, so it is important that working with services as an arrowhead to kick-start what we are to do,” he said.

“The potential for growth with outsourcing is there but there is a need for businesses to understand it the more and see the great value they bring,” he added.