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Nigerians must develop IT proficiency, data skills to tap into UK outsourcing market – Business consultant


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The Nigerian government recently launched the Outsource to Nigeria Initiative (OTNI) to tap into the global outsourcing market, which generated nearly $350 billion in revenue in 2023 from top seven participating countries, offering significant employment opportunities for the growing youth population.

Recently, Vice President, Kashim Shettima, highlighted Nigeria’s potential to revolutionize its economy through the outsourcing sector, given the rich talent pool, competitive cost structure, improving ICT infrastructure, and strategic geographic location.

A report indicates that the Global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) & Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) market, valued at $8.79 trillion in 2024, is predominantly led by India and the Philippines, which together hold about 60% of the market share.

In this interview with Obiajulu Okonkwo, a business consultant in the health and social care sector in the United Kingdom and founder of The Good Practice Company (TGPC), she says Nigeria can position itself for these opportunities. She said that the country has a high potential among African countries, having the fastest growth in the African BPO industry, with various favorable factors and demographics suited to capitalize on the current trends in global business.

The UK has one of the biggest and most renowned healthcare sectors in the world, an unstoppable surge in demand for healthcare workers, many start-ups with 3400 new business registrations in 2023 and one of the best business survival rates in the world, according to Forbes Advisor. Also, a report by the National Health Service (NHS) says the social care sector employs 1.48 million people and will have half a million extra jobs available by 2030.

What opportunities do you believe exist for outsourcing in Nigeria?

Nigeria possesses a large, English-speaking population, including a significant number of healthcare professionals and IT specialists. The country’s growing digital infrastructure and government support for ICT, as well as outsourcing services, present an opportunity for many Nigerians to export their services.

For example, with advancements in technology, many healthcare services no longer require face-to-face interactions. Nigeria’s rapidly growing tech ecosystem can support telehealth roles, including scripted patient consultations, mental health support, and medical advice.

Additionally, administrative tasks are well-suited for remote work and can be efficiently managed by trained professionals in Nigeria.

Healthcare data management, which includes data entry, processing, and analysis, is critical for research, policy development, and operational efficiency and can also be done remotely with the right data security measures in place.

Outsourcing call center operations for appointment bookings, patient queries, and support can enhance service responsiveness and patient satisfaction, all of which can be accomplished from Nigeria.

We have seen companies like Outsource Global, founded by Amal Hassan, do this successfully, and so have we at The Good Practice Company. Hence, it is safe to say that the UK health and social care sector can outsource some of its operations to Nigeria.

As an expert in the business of health and social care market in the UK, what benefits will these health and social care providers in the country have if they outsource some business process roles to emerging markets like Nigeria?

By engaging with Nigerian talent for outsourced roles, UK providers can enjoy several advantages such as cost-efficient operations and access to a highly skilled workforce, given that Nigerians are well-educated. This is evident from the contributions of the diaspora worldwide.

Depending on the outsourcing model, outsourcing can offer UK providers the flexibility to scale operations up or down based on demand without the constraints of local staffing issues.

The time difference can be strategically used to increase operating hours.

How can Nigeria position itself as a talent pipeline for health and social care jobs that can be done remotely?

To attract outsourcing opportunities, Nigeria should focus on tailoring educational programs to meet international healthcare standards, invest in reliable internet services and digital technologies for seamless remote working environments, and actively promote its healthcare and IT capabilities on international platforms, showcasing success stories and competitive advantages.

What roles do you believe can be outsourced to Nigeria?

I believe roles within these categories that can be outsourced to local talent in Nigeria are: Remote patient monitoring and support, healthcare information technology services, and clinical research and data analysis.

What skills and knowledge do these remote workers need to have to position themselves for these opportunities?

To capitalize on these opportunities, Nigerian professionals should develop digital literacy and technological proficiency in healthcare technologies, software, and tools used in telehealth and data management.

Additionally, they should obtain professional healthcare qualifications relevant to outsourced roles and hone soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and cultural sensitivity to effectively collaborate with UK-based teams and patients.

It is also crucial to understand international healthcare standards and regulations, including GDPR, NICE Guidelines, CQC, RQIA, and CIW. Nigeria has enormous potential to become a leading destination for outsourced health and social care roles, offering significant benefits to both Nigerian professionals and UK health and social care providers.

This symbiotic relationship can lead to improved healthcare services, economic growth, and enhanced bilateral relations between the two nations.



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