February 6, 2014

IDAL – ICT in Lebanon

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ISSUE 2

LEBANON.
A BOOMING OUTSOURCING LOCATION.

One of IDAL’s investment promotion strategies for Lebanon is to promote investments in the ICT sector which has been identified as one of our priority sectors given the country’s many competitive advantages, mainly a highly skilled and cost competitive labor force. More specifically, with the start of 2013, IDAL channeled its efforts into promoting Lebanon as an outsourcing destination for IT related services and Call Center activities given the capacity of the country to handle activities that require a skilled tri-lingual labor force. This strategy will be implemented through IDAL’s participation in international forums, networking opportunities, and direct targeting of multinationals. We initiated these efforts at the International Outsourcing Forum early October 2013 in Reims, France where we were able to present the country’s attractiveness through networking opportunities and a “sales” presentation that was endorsed by multinationals who were present at the forum and who had visited Beirut on business trips.  Experts have witnessed to the fact that Beirut is one of the best destinations worldwide for the establishment of a Shared Services Center due to the impressive quality of services offered in relation to cost.

 

This newsletter will shed light on the Business Process Outsourcing industry in Lebanon and will expose you to new export markets so that you will be able to grow your business with confidence.

We welcome your suggestions and news on invest@idal.com.lb
Nabil Itani
Chairman-General Manager

Call Center

BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING IN LEBANON

 

KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

 

  • The Lebanese landscape for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) activities has been evolving over the last decade with a number of Lebanese companies mushrooming to offer a broad range of outsourcing services under three main sub-sectors:
    Call Centers, BPO services (back office operations in Finance, HR, Accounting, etc…),
    and ITO (Information Technology Outsourcing)
  • Services offered by local companies include Sales & Marketing, Technical Support, Transaction Processing, Customer Care, Finance & Accounting, CRM Consulting & Support, Software Products, and other businesses
  • More than 200 companies are involved in Call center, ITO and BPO activities, with 13 operating as call centers and the remaining offering IT solutions
  • The 13 call centers in Lebanon, employ around 850 employees and companies involved in ITO activities employ 4100 employees
  • In total, the sector employs more than 5000 employees, engaged in Call center, BPO, and ITO activities with more than 90% of these employees in high value added services
  • Local companies have already established a solid track record and now serve an array of local, regional, and multinational companies such as Samsung, Toshiba, Orange, Nestle, etc.

 

 

GOVERNMENT POLICIES FOR BETTER INDUSTRY POSITIONING

 

 

What is the government doing to improve the industry’s positioning in the region? Three main elements usually affect the decision of companies in the outsourcing industry: Labor (both cost and quality), Infrastructure, and an adequate Business Environment. While Lebanon is able to compete successfully at this stage with regards to its labor pool, additional improvements have to be made at the level of the infrastructure and the business environment.

Business Environment/ Regulatory Environment

 

While parameters relating to risk and security remain hard to improve, the government is channeling its efforts into improving regulatory and infrastructure related indicators. IDAL has been engaged in improving Lebanon’s ranking with international ranking agencies like AT Kearny or the World Bank Location Readiness Index. Decision makers are increasingly using these ranking systems in their analysis and country choices and it has as such become imperative to improve our standing within these lists. The Ministry of Telecommunications has been actively engaged in the update of regulations governing the operations of the call center industry in Lebanon. Contracts with call centers were modified in 2012, allowing them to  handle the local and international outgoing traffic and the possibility of obtaining bandwidth from the private sector if the ministry is unable to supply the E1 lines within a certain time limit.

Infrastructure

 

The Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT) has invested heavily in the modernization of the country’s fixed line and mobile networks in order to provide the necessary infrastructure required to transform Lebanon into a digital hub in the region. As a result of the MoT’s efforts, international connectivity has considerably increased as a result of a decrease in internet prices for both corporate and private use, resulting in a surge in both DSL and mobile broadband use. Another leap at the level of infrastructure has been the establishment of the Beirut Digital District, projected to reach a surface area of 40,000 sqm by 2016.

 

Sector Promotion

 

The outsourcing industry is one where Lebanon is highly capable of competing at the regional and international levels, given its cost competitive and highly skilled labor force. Going forward, the government of Lebanon, through IDAL, aims to aggressively promote its available talent to the world. By increasing its presence in relevant forums, and utilizing multiple investment promotion tools, IDAL can showcase Lebanon’s competitive advantages and position the country among other prominent locations for successful IT and outsourcing operations and as such be able to create more job opportunities in the local market.

For a list of call centers in Lebanon, please check our directory.

LOOKING FOR EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES?

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EXPORT MARKET OVERVIEW
FRANCE

 

MARKET OVERVIEW

 

 

Turnover: €113.2 billion

16% of the European market

Workforce: 1,335,000 employees

 

The ICT market is comprised of electronics, IT and telecommunications, hardware software and services. In 2011 the French ICT market generated a turnover of €148 billion and is responsible for 8.2% of the GDP (AFDEL). In 2011, the IT sector accounted for 6% of the French GDP, which is more than what the aeronautic and the pharmaceutical sector account for. IT was also responsible for between 20% and 25% of the GDP growth in 2011 (AFDEL).

Since 2009, the French market for ICT positions itself as 1st recruiter for engineers (with more than 80 000 in 2011) (AFDEL). In 2011, the ICT sector was responsible for generating more than 1 million jobs: 430 000 of them in engineering, 300 000 of them in telecom, 370 000 of them in hardware software and services, and 5000 of them in videos (AFDEL). There were 622 000 telecommunications engineers spread in the whole of the economic sectors in 2010 (excluding the public sector) (Syntec).

In the IT sector, 67% of employed people were cadres in 2010, as opposed to 15% for the whole economy. Their average salaries in 2010 were of 46,5 k euros annually as opposed to 32 k euros for the whole of the economy. There were 93.4% of CDIs in this sector in 2010, as opposed to 86.6% for the jobs in the private sector (Syntec)

France has one of the highest rates of electronic communications in Europe.

In terms of home internet access, in 2011, France was 7th in Europe with 69% of homes equipped, mostly through ADSL. In 2011, 74% of people already possess a fixed phone line as well as a mobile phone. Mobile phones are increasingly used for internet access purposes in 2011: internet browsing (24%), emails check (19%), application downloading paying (17%), television (8%) (AFDEL).

France is positioned 2nd in the world for the proportion of science and technology graduates in the active population. France is known for highly reputed higher education  establishments specializing in telecommunications. Also almost 27% of corporate R&D expenditure in France is generated by the ICT sector . France is becoming an attractive location in which to do business and initiate partnership with key ICT French stakeholders

The ICT sector in Île-de-France is especially located in the City of Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Yvelines and Essonne, which are the most central areas for ICT enterprises. The ICT sector employs nearly 10 % of the private sector workforce. Île-de-France has 36,036 local units engaged in the ICT sector. It comprises three main categories: telecommunication activities, IT services and R&D.Île-de-France is especially known for its concentration of players in the field of optic fiber in a small area, which is organized in the Optics Valley Association (report ICT clusters in EU).