Industry Commentary

Egypt is Solidifying its BPO Comeback

By November 26, 2018July 25th, 2023No Comments

The world is an unstable place.  More outsourcing executives and their clients are conscious of the instability that is touching both offshore and nearshore front-office delivery locations, and this is placing considerable pressure on site selection strategies.  But, one country where the news continues to be positive is Egypt. Its stakeholders have managed to maintain a focus on solid customer experience delivery, and their efforts are bearing fruit in terms of the consideration that enterprise decision-makers are according Egyptian offshore delivery.  The country’s ongoing stability, multilingual labor pool, scalability and capacity for higher-value work are all prime drivers in its favor.  And, with greater focus on customer experience value by clients, outsourcers need to make sure Egypt is not forgotten when scoping delivery venues.

The past few years have thrown conventional offshoring norms out the window.  In the case of the American nearshore, the instability that has been omnipresent in Nicaragua has done little to help perceptions of that region. Ongoing concerns over Honduras since the election in that country at the end of 2017 are another nearshore worry.  Looking at offshore destinations, political and economic stability in the Philippines is still on the minds of outsourcers and their clients, while Turkey (which was once touted as a rising power in the world of offshore contact center delivery) has been victim of various worries for the past few years.  It is in this vein that Egypt, even before considering its competitive advantages, is positioned to grow its third-party delivery market.

Egypt’s BPO sector had its first heyday from 2005-2010, and with good reason. Pioneering local players such as Xceed, Raya and Ecco were able to take advantage of lower labor costs and a pool of talent that could service major European languages in significant numbers.  The construction of new business parks in strategically-positioned locations only served to further attract foreign providers of customer experience services, including Sutherland, Teleperformance, Centro Global Solutions and Sykes. The events of 2011 were clearly the catalyst for challenging times in Egypt’s offshore BPO sector, but today the country finds the path returning it to first-tier destination status clearer than ever.

This ascension was clear in the 2018 Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office Omnibus Survey, in which enterprise contact center decision-makers placed Egypt in the top ten most favorable offshore contact center delivery locations from around the world.  Such a ranking would have been unlikely even three years ago, but the efforts that the country’s industry players and government have made to reposition Egypt are bearing fruit.  By re-configuring its value proposition toward more high-value forms of service delivery, outsourcers are now more aware of the diversity of functions that can be handled in Egypt (including front-line, back office and technology).  Combined with its linguistic strengths, Egypt’s population is nearly the same size as the Philippines and has a relatively central geographic positioning that is easily accessed from Europe and North America.  These factors have helped the country’s value become more apparent to a new generation of BPO leaders and their clients.

This is not to say that work still needs to be done, especially in terms of selling Egypt to outsourcers and enterprises.  Concerns from its multiple uprisings since 2011 still linger in the minds of many contact center professionals, and overcoming these worries will need logical messaging and diligent efforts.  However, given the consideration that Egypt is being accorded by more executives, breaking into the Top 5 Most Favorable Locations ranking in 2019 is not out of the realm of possibilities. From there, new outsourcing deployments should logically follow.