According to Ebrahim Patel, South Africa’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, eighty two thousand jobs have been created in South Africa in the provision of business services to global companies – with a 22% annual growth in new jobs over the past three years in this sector. In the climate of a depressing and growing national unemployment rate of 32.6%, this news is to be celebrated.

In his address, the minister  noted the success of the targeted incentive programme by the Department of Trade Industry and Competition (the dtic) that has drawn large global firms to locate their front and back-office work in South Africa. Major global brands such as British Gas, BMW, Samsung, Amazon, American Express, Lufthansa and T-Mobile are some of the firms whose clients are now serviced from South Africa.

The African continent is well suited in terms of geography and linguistics to support companies’ English and French speaking clients with support services. While Africa has its fair share of infrastructure  challenges, it is clear that the benefits far outweigh the problems.  You can gain a small glimpse of how this is already working well in this informative article about the top 5 African cities for remote work.  Being in Cape Town, I might be a little biased,  but I would most certainly add the mother city to this list! The AIMS South African team have been working remotely, servicing many international clients for over a decade and most of that time from Cape Town.

One of the most interesting developments due to remote work gaining popularity  is remote working visas. For example, for as little as US$611, you can enjoy most of the benefits of UAE residents. The Dubai digital worker visa programme is one of the most attractive globally.  On our last count there were 22 countries offering these programmes.The one-year virtual working programme in Dubai offers applicants and their families the comfort of living in one of the world’s most connected and cosmopolitan cities while having access to some of the fastest internet speeds in the world.  

There are a myriad of mutual benefits for business and emerging economies in the new normal.  Let’s embrace them.