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Nigeria Eyes $3.6bn in Historic Talent Outsourcing Initiative

The ministry of Trade and investment has signed an MoU with Lab four to create 50,000 BPO jobs in Nigeria.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, on Monday, has supervised the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the ministry and Lab Four for channeling of 50,000 full-time Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) jobs to the country.

The minister said jobs generated through partnership could attract about $1.2 billion annually into the Nigerian economy over the next three years, through remuneration to the employed persons as well as unlock about $60 million to develop the BPO ecosystem through direct support to the individual BPOs.

Essentially, the MoU would be executed by the National Talent Export Programme(NATEP), which was launched on the sidelines of the 2023 edition of the United Nations General Assembly to connect Nigerians to employment opportunities outside the country through two channels – physical talent export and BPO.

Uzoka-Anite said through NATEP, Nigeria could honourably export its talents in a mutually beneficial and reputation preserving way, significantly reducing illegal migration.

NATEP is also positioning the country as an outsourcing destination of choice as it catalyses the growth and development of the micro, mini and mega BPO ecosystems and industries in the country.

Speaking at the ceremony, the minister said NATEP would ride on some strategic advantages of the Nigerian market that position the country as a service export and outsourcing destination of choice.

She identified some of these advantages to include strategic location and time zone, highly skilled workforce, cost-effective services, robust digital infrastructure, language and cultural compatibility, government support and stability and data privacy and security, among others.

She explained that by 2030, about 85 million jobs will remain unfilled globally due to skill shortages resulting in a loss of $8.5 trillion.

Uzoka-Anite said Nigeria, with a large, youthful and skillful population could take advantage of this in a way that can significantly benefit our economy.

While commending the partnership, the minister said the move was in line with President Bola Tinubu’s 8-point agenda on job creation, adding that it remained a crucial solution towards addressing the problem of insecurity in the country.

The minister, who also launched the NATEP Strategy document, said, “The federal Government’s message through the launch of National Talent Export Programme is clear; Nigeria is ready to become a global hub for talent exports and business process outsourcing. We have the vision and commitment and we seek the partnership and trust of Nigerians and the global community as we embark on this mutually beneficial journey.”

She noted that the services industry had been a top player in the economy, consistently providing over 50 per cent of GDP over the last 10 years, averaging 51.96 per cent between 2012 and 2022, adding that the government remained committed to strengthening the industry and using it as a catalyst for job creation.

According to her, the global talent-sourcing industry was valued at $620.381 billion in 2020 and is forecasted to reach $904.948 billion by 2027.

She said with a youthful population and about three million graduates from higher educational institutions joining the workforce each year, Nigeria has the potential to provide high-quality talent for the global service export and outsourcing industry.

She said, “As a country, we have a significant value proposition for regional and global markets for the export of services. We will actively target Greenfield and Brownfield job opportunities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, among others.

“We will also take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to access the African market.

The minister said as part of the strategy towards achieving the agenda for job creation, the ministry had initiated the NATEP for Nigeria, which targets to create one million jobs for Nigerians over five years, adding that the president had endorsed the programme and approved its launch on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 2023 in New York, United States of America.

However, National Coordinator, NATEP, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, said the MoU will explore opportunities in telesales, customer service, virtual administrative assistant, marketing/social media assistant and tech/cybersecurity.

He said NATEP has had extensive meetings with stakeholders as well as forged strategic partnerships with the Cybersecurity Institute at Lab Four.

Cybersecurity Institute at Lab Four is an accredited, non-traditional training provider based in Memphis, United States of America with over 15 years of experience helping people start and advance their careers in the Information Technology (IT) and Cybersecurity fields.

Their remote work platform is a marketplace focused on connecting skilled professionals in the world to remote work opportunities in the West. 

He said, “They are democratising BPO for small and medium-sized Western employers who want to leverage these opportunities to grow, while simultaneously providing opportunities for economic growth and liquidity in developing countries.”

Representative of the United States Embassy in Abuja, Mr. John Dunham, described the initiative as a “game-changer for Nigeria”.

He said, “The most valuable resource that Nigeria has is the talents of its population. The most exciting part of that is the rapid growth of IT entrepreneurs and experts in this country particularly among young people.

“And I am proud to see the US play its role to encourage the growth of the sector. It would be a game-changer for Nigeria; it is a leader in Africa in IT development. It does provide a lot of hope and excitement for a prosperous future in Nigeria.”

 James Emejo

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