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2Africa submarine cable a catalyst to the Eastern Cape’s GBS/BPO market

The Eastern Cape of South Africa is set to undergo a digital revolution with the introduction of the new 2Africa submarine cable which has been landed at Pollock beach located in Gqeberha.

This new high-speed internet link will open numerous opportunities for businesses both in urban and rural areas across the province, particularly in the Global Business Services/Business Process Outsourcing (GBS/BPO) sector.

Discovery, iSON Xperiences, Startek, are just some of the major operators that can leverage the 2Africa submarine cable for business expansion.

The 2Africa submarine cable will have three immediate benefits for the province:

  1. Create a focal point for digital transformation;
  2. Retain ICT Skills that will have a multiplier effect across the province; and
  3. Unlock investment opportunities for GBS/BPO.

For investors, these outcomes may offer unprecedented growth potential across the GBS/BPO market within the Eastern Cape and access to global markets like never before.


Capacity and Benefits

As the most expansive cable project in the world (45 000 kilometres in length), the 2Africa submarine cable is a high-capacity fibre optic cable system with a capacity of 180 Tbps connecting over 3 billion people in multiple countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Not only will the 2Africa cable provide high-speed and reliable connectivity to underserved countries in Africa but it will also allow for faster, more efficient and more secure data transfer.

Additionally, the low latency connection will create much-needed job creation growth in key sectors, such as data centres, call centres and software development.


Implications for Digital Skills Development

These enhancements will support a series of digital skilling initiatives across the Eastern Cape, including the BPESA Future Skills Platform (FSP), where over 1 000 youth fully engaged on the platform’s courses and content to prepare them for the digital workplace. 

Improved internet capacity is also set to benefit the ICT academy to be launched in Mthatha, which aims to expose nearby communities to digital learning.

Collectively, these activities will broaden the participation of the people of the Eastern Cape in the broadband connectivity project.


Businesses to drive digital growth

Furthermore, the landing of the cable has prompted several companies to make commitments to digital growth in the province.

One such entity, the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ), plans to roll out its ICT Services Strategy with support from BPESA, leading to the development of a multi-purpose ICT hub, as well as an 800-seater contact centre. 

Existing operators located in the Coega BPO Park will also leverage the new cable to expand seat capacity and service capabilities to move up the GBS/BPO value chain.


Unlocking Features of the Province’s GBS/BPO Value Proposition

In this regard, the 2Africa submarine cable will unlock the province’s largely untapped estimated B2 English-speaking addressable talent pool of over 65 000 qualified youth that can service key Anglophone source markets, including the US, the UK and Australia.

What’s more, the talent in the Eastern Cape has the most competitive GBS/BPO salaries in the country – 15% lower compared to other provinces and 75% lower than those found in key source markets, on average.

In addition, the local GBS/BPO workforce exhibits the lowest attrition and absenteeism rates in the country - 13.6% and 10.3% respectively.

As South Africa’s leading automotive and logistics hub, the boosted connectivity will further strengthen the potential for back office and aftercare capabilities in these sectors. 

This will also be the case for operators based in the province’s two SEZs and IDZs located in Coega and East London, sweetening the already attractive investment incentives these zones offer.


Time to Act

The 2Africa submarine cable's arrival in the Eastern Cape is a major development with wide-ranging implications for business and digital skilling initiatives in the province.

Moreover, with faster, more reliable internet access, the Eastern Cape is well placed to attract investment in its GBS/BPO sector and realise its full potential as a hub for enterprises looking to gain a foothold in Africa’s business environment.

The time is now for all GBS/BPO stakeholders to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the business of creating jobs for our youth, a mission we as BPESA take very seriously. 



Lynn Davis - Eastern Cape Regional Representative

Email :  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mobile :  083-200-8352


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