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Invest Durban - Durban now positioned as a global business services ‘powerhouse’

Updated: Feb 7

The Global Business Services (GBS)

The Global Business Services (GBS) sector has emerged as a key driver of export revenue generation and youth employment creation. The sector has grown within the local market, attracting foreign direct investment to South Africa, with Durban becoming an established powerhouse in GBS.


This was the view of Russell Curtis, Head of Invest Durban, speaking about The South Africa GBS Investor Conference and Awards which took place in Umhlanga from 8 to 10 November. This is the second time the city has hosted the conference, the last time being in 2019 when more than 50 international investors visited Durban to attend the conference.


“The GBS sector growth trends have reflected a 24% compound annual growth rate during the past five years,” commented Curtis. “This has contributed appreciably to stimulating our country’s economic growth and strengthening South Africa’s profile in the global market. In line with this, the national job creation target for the sector is 500 000 new employment opportunities by 2030.”


The GBS sector includes business process outsourcing (BPO), business process management, business process services, and shared service and contact centres.


“The GBS sector is regarded as key for targeting foreign direct investment, and priority support is fully in line with eThekwini Municipality’s Integrated Development Plan. This is designed to stimulate the economic wealth of our region and our Economic Development Strategy, which is geared around

an accelerated and inclusive growth path,” Curtis added.


“Building on South Africa’s already well-established global profile and recognition in both 2021 and 2022 as the Most Favoured Global Offshore Customer Experience Delivery Location, this conference afforded us an exceptional opportunity to showcase our city and country’s capabilities to the sector’s analysts and thought leaders. This further enhances our preferred destination status and provides an ideal prospect for attracting new investors to our shores,” Curtis stressed.


The primary objective of the Global Business Services Investment Conference and Awards was to market South Africa to an international audience as a scalable delivery destination capable of offering real value across the GBS value chain, while also promoting the sector to domestic stakeholders.


He added: “Hosting an international conference of this calibre enabled us to position Durban as a truly global business destination for tourism, conferencing and business. Crucially, the three-day duration of the conference and awards enabled prospective investors attending to fully experience Durban and to witness first-hand the attractiveness of doing business in our region.”


He said there is no question that Durban has emerged as a powerhouse for the GBS sector, earning international recognition for its active development. “Durban has become widely recognised as a major frontline in customer experience-centric sales and lifecycle management hub, offering exceptional business[1]to-consumer and business-to[1]business frontline BPO sales talent, servicing local and global markets,” said Curtis.


“In addition, our region’s focused partnership between the private sector and government has the effect of further boosting investor confidence, allowing for a serious dent to be made in terms of youth unemployment in our region.”


Additional good news for the already buoyant local component of the GBS sector was a recent announcement that Umhlanga Ridge-based Rewardsco, a leading provider of outsourced sales and distribution services, had significantly expanded its Durban operation. The organisation opened its third building at the beginning of November, paving the way for the employment of several hundred new members of staff.


“This is great news for Durban and is truly indicative of the GBO sector’s growth potential here, given the powerful platform for business and investment we have created,” said Curtis.

Special thanks are extended to regional host partners, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) with our regional host partners the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (KZN EDTEA), Trade and Investment KZN (TIKZN), Invest Durban and the eThekwini Municipality, event sponsors GGDA, WNS, Outworx, Synergy, Blake Group, TransUnion and RewardsCo.


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