Ghana leaped from its 27th position on the Kearney Global Services Location Index that ranks countries’ ability to handle business processes in 2007 to become the first preferred destination in Sub-saharan Africa in 2009.
Business processing outsourcing (BPO) has been identified as having the potential to push businesses out of the doldrums.
The idea of BPO means that people in other countries can provide business services for business organisations elsewhere, particularly America and Europe.
Services commonly provided by BPO organisations are data entry and processing, document management, customer service, sales support networking and technology support.
At a time when even the world’s biggest economies and businesses are still struggling to recover from the “global economic crises”, the search for new markets and business opportunities has been identified as holding great prospect for economies and business growth.
The Director of Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES), of the eGhana Project, Mr Umar Alhassan said this at a media orientation on the e-Ghana project. The eGhana Project is a World Bank funded programme being implemented by the Ministry of Communications.
Launched in April 2006, the Project is designed to assist the Government of Ghana to generate growth and employment by leveraging ICT and public-private partnerships.
Interacting with journalists to apprise them of the project, Mr Umar said, “Ghana scored marks for having favourable “compensation cost”, “infrastructure cost”, and “tax and regulatory cost.”
According to him, apart being a business friendly country with trainable human resource, Ghanaians have no particular heavy accent which is very necessary for BPO.
Mr Umar revealed that plans are underway to build a computer laboratory in one of the public universities in the country to cater for the ICT needs of the general populace.
That laboratory, he explained will be equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets where students who design softwares can go and test those softwares to see if they meet international standards.
This will encourage local content and make it possible for players in the industry to design products that can be certified and sold to other countries in the sub-region.
The ITES Director encouraged universities in the country to produce the needed materials for market in the IT industry to facilitate the job creation efforts of the government under the eGhana project.
Touching on the objectives if the eGhana Project, the Project Co-ordinator, Mr Nelson Osae said eGhana seeks to develop the IT-enabled Services industry in Ghana, and contribute to improved efficiency and transparency of selected government functions through e-government applications.
To achieve these, he said the Project is focusing on fostering ICT and ICT application-related investments in the country.
“It (eGhana) also focuses on ICT-enabled government transformation, and anticipates an increased employment and income generation in the ICT/ITES sector,” he stated.
Mr Nelson also observed that the project hopes to foster an increased competitiveness of the ICT/ITES industry in Ghana and opportunities for local businesses, build human capacity in the ICT/ITES sector, facilitate increased ICT/ITES-Ied export revenue, and lead to a more effective, transparent and accountable government.
Mrs Veronica Boateng of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) said the e-Ghana project envisages a situation where citizens can do business with government on line.
This she said will be cheaper and easier for both the citizenry and the government.
Mrs Boateng said the e-governance and other elements come on stream, it will be possible to book appointments with officials at government revenue agencies, the Registrar General’s Department and other institutions within a shorter time.
According to her, the library of Parliament will be digitized and information to Members of Parliament will no longer be printed on papers will be distributed through e-mails. This, she hopes will facilitate the work of MPs.