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CEO WELCOME - The first financial year for BPESA (2018/2019) ended on a positive note with the Global Business Services Sector exceeding most of its growth and sustainability targets over the period.

There were many accolades for the GBS Sector, BPESA and its partners. Here are some of them to reflect on:

- GBS Sector contributed key inputs and components into the Presidential Job Summit Framework Agreement, 2018.

- GBS Sector was showcased at the Investor Conference, 2018, contributing towards the USD100bn growth goal.

-Winner of the GSA Offshoring Destination of the Year award, 2018.

- GBS members were recognized as global leaders in their field at CCW 2018.

- GBS Sector was rated as one of four top sectors in South Africa for attractiveness and desirability for growth – World Bank 2019

- BPESA’s strategic partner, Harambee, was awarded the 2019 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

- South Africa was rated as the 2nd Most Favourable front office offshore BPO location: Ryan Strategic Advisory, 2019.

- In partnership with Harambee and the dti, BPESA was the winner of the 2019 IAOP Global Impact Sourcing Award for influencing Global Business Service solutions for excluded youth at scale.

- GBS Sector was in the Presidents 2019 SONA.

- GBS Sector is one of 14 sectors participating in the PPGI to drive GDP growth and export revenue growth.

Most importantly, a solid foundation has been laid for us to build on in 2019 and 2020 as we continue to build and grow our partnerships and membership, stimulate investment demand through our marketing initiatives, and engage in a range of targeted supply side interventions to build suitable skilled capacity in the country.


Export segment growth

28% more new direct export jobs were created by business in 2018/2019 compared to the previous year. A targeted strategy to build awareness and to establish a network of effective relationships with influencers and buyers in the three major source markets (the UK, Australia and the USA) was initiated with successful joint marketing trips to the UK and Australia, and a similar trip planned for the USA in June this year.

Of the 11,126 new export jobs created during the past year, 10% were hired inclusively which indicates that the practice of Impact Sourcing (intentional hiring of marginalised communities) is working as both a supply side strategy for scaling up in numbers and for having a positive impact on the marginalised unemployed youth in our country.

Marketing plan for 2019 / 2020

The year ahead is packed with marketing events at home and off-shore. First up will be the outbound joint marketing trip to the USA, led by BPESA and the dti with events scheduled in New York and Las Vegas.

We will also have the Harambee Accelerating Inclusive Youth Employment conference in October leading into our Annual GBS Investor Conference and Awards in November.

Other investor promotion activities and industry events will be scheduled and posted in our calendar throughout the year. We encourage members to advise what knowledge sharing events they would like to see and to attend the many activities we have on the go through the year across the country.

Partnerships and collaboration

2018 was the year for strengthening existing partnerships and building new ones. Our strategic partnership with Harambee and the dti matured in a focussed way in 2018 / 2019 and we look forward to continuing that relationship into the future. The dti and BPESA collaborated closely during the past year and we will be formalising the relationship through a longer-term partnership agreement with the dti and Harambee that underpins the sector growth strategy for the next five years. This will allow a platform for all GBS stakeholders to work from as a collective public, private, social base with a focus on growing the South African economy and creating new youth employment opportunities.

Through our relationship with Harambee, BPESA has established a new relationship with Business Unity South Africa - BUSA and have joined them as members, signed an Affiliate Partners Agreement with the IAOP, and we have taken up Platinum membership with the South African Chamber of Commerce UK. These relationships all enable members to access other sectors of our economy for domestic growth opportunities while being able to leverage knowledge, capabilities and networks in our target offshore source markets.

BPESA, by invitation, engaged with the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI) and our five-year growth strategy has been included into the overall South Africa national growth strategy which is aimed at attracting and extracting a collective USD 100bn investment over the next five years. In addition to the National level partnerships, BPESA has continued to focus on key provincial linkages and partnerships with Tshwane Economic Development Agency, the Gauteng Department of Economic Development and eThekwini Municipality. These partnerships are all in place with various MOA’s and SLA’s being signed – aligned to our “Real Value ….. Think South Africa” position.


After much engagement with members and stakeholders, BPESA shifted our membership model to a more inclusive one which aligns closely to the best practice standard set by NASSCOM. The response has been exceedingly positive since the membership cycle launched on the 1st April, with a great take up from companies renewing their membership as well as new companies seeking access to domestic and offshore market growth opportunities through BPESA.

With the growing relevance of digital and ICT role players in enabling the GBS sector in South Africa to compete effectively in the digital economy and Industry 4.0, we are actively encouraging these companies to join BPESA. The combination of a strong and aligned digital, ICT, BPO and Shared Services sector will support us in offering more competitive solutions at a greater scale than we do today. Please reach out to your network of digital and ICT role players and encourage them to join this vibrant and growing GBS sector.

Engagements with members

There were numerous engagements with members in the past year. The year ahead will offer even more opportunity for members, with each other and with investors through our marketing, skills and mobilisation forums (held quarterly across the country), and through a range of other engagements including knowledge sharing sessions, master classes, interest group workshops, dinners, sports events and more.

One of the big announcements for this year is that we will be hosting our own National GBS Investor Conference and Awards in November in collaboration with our partners and the selected host region (the bid process is underway). The event will feature an exhibition for our members to showcase their products and services, an investor conference, and our own national awards in which we can demonstrate South Africa’s depth of capabilities vested in our people and our companies.

Skills development

The Western Cape and KZN progressed with a number of targeted skills development projects in their regions while BPESA engaged with National level role players to define a solution to accelerate the skilling and employment of entry level youth at scale as part of a five-year growth strategy.

Skills practitioners who engaged in the skills forums during the past year, formulated a future skills framework for the sector, identified key roles across the value chain and proposed a new list of critical skills to be submitted to the dti and ultimately to the Dept Home Affairs for consideration and adoption. This work has been used as input to the new skills strategy, which will come into being in June this year, picking up where the previous 5-year strategy left off. The strategy will ensure that we focus all our efforts and resources on the right interventions and at the right time to address skills gaps and support the continued growth in demand that we are experiencing.

BPESA website

The BPESA website is undergoing a refresh and will be launched in its new form towards the end of May. It will provide much sought-after market information for prospective investors and other interested parties while enabling members and partners to promote themselves, share news and events and will provide them with relevant information on government support for the sector, skills development, policies and research.

In closing

I’d like to thank our partners in Harambee, the dti and the regional and city government departments that have been so supportive of BPESA and the growth of this sector during the past year. I’d like to congratulate all of our members on the progress you have achieved and the positive impact that you are making on the South African economy and on job creation for young unemployed people, and for your continued and pro-active support of BPESA as the GBS Industry Body and Trade Association.

2019/ 2020 should be a year of continued growth in export revenue and new jobs, building on our strengthening brand presence and value, and a year in which we can work hard on stimulating growth and building relevant skills for the future in the domestic market.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Wishing you a great year ahead!

Andy Searle - On behalf of the BPESA Team


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