August 22, 2007, - 11:49 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Forget India and China, the latest outsourcing hot spots are the Muslim Arab nations of Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. They’re rising on the list of “most attractive offshoring locations” for 2007. I’ve repeatedly written about this, including retailer Target producing clothing in Jordan, UAE and Terrorist State Syria. And it’s well established that these countries often used slave/child labor in poor conditions.
This is a problem for a number of reasons. If it’s made in Jordan, that most likely means it’s made by–or worse, the plant is owned by–extremist Palestinians (who dominate Jordan’s population). They get cash-rich making clothing, performing call-center services, etc. And we don’t know where that cash is going. It’s not a remote chance at all that the cash made by Ahmed for the call center or clothing sweatshop will go to finance his brother Mohammed’s homicide bombing.
In fact, I assume that’s exactly the case, which is why I’ve repeatedly protested to Target that it makes a lot of its Mossimo clothing line in Syria, Jordan, and UAE. It’s not at all a stretch that your daughter’s Mossimo jeans are financing the murder of innocent people on behalf of Islamic jihadists.
What you buy and where it’s made has consequences. And are you comfortable with Islamofascists having access to your health insurance and other confidential information? You shouldn’t be.
The Wall Street Journal reports on this, though it doesn’t mention the burgeoning–and disturbing–American outsourcing to the region:
CAIRO, Egypt — As rising wages and attrition rates in India spur some international companies to seek new locales for outsourcing operations, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America have all been competing to become new offshore hubs.
Now, the Middle East and North Africa are elbowing into the race to host remote sales staff, service centers, tech support and the like, thanks to a favorable time zone, a multilingual work force and an oil-fueled investment and expansion spree. Companies also are attracted by some efforts by some governments there to diversify and liberalize their economies, as well as the prospect of tapping into the growing local market.
The offshore industry faces challenges in the Mideast, which is better known for political instability and ingrained bureaucracy than customer support. But underscoring the region’s promise, some of the biggest outsourcing companies operating in India — the industry’s undisputed powerhouse — are establishing outposts there.
Satyam Computer Services Ltd. is hiring 300 people for a new center in Cairo that will handle clients in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. Earlier this year, Wipro Ltd. set up an outsourcing joint venture in Saudi Arabia and recently announced plans to enter Egypt. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. says it will soon start offering services from Morocco to French-speaking European clients. . . .
Much of the Middle East offers the same appeal other outsourcing hot spots have: cheap, skilled labor. But companies are finding other advantages, including a time zone that roughly straddles the world’s three biggest economies — North America, Europe and Asia. The region’s geographic proximity to Europe and a multilingual labor force also help. And with business booming in much of the Mideast, there is more demand for Arabic speakers.
In recent years, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have all broken into the top 20 most-attractive offshoring destinations, according to an index published by consultancy A.T. Kearney Inc. Tunisia, Morocco, Israel and Turkey made the top 50 in this year’s list.
“The Middle East region is going to be, I think, the next big destination,” says Simon Bell, an A.T. Kearney principal, who has worked with the Egyptian government recently on ways to draw in more offshore work. . . .
New outsourcing jobs are a big boon for a region struggling with high unemployment and a bulging birth rate, and some countries have been recruiting the industry. The Egyptian government is offering to pay 80% of training costs for new employees, and officials are offering cheap rates for voice and data links to major U.S. and European cities.
Dubai, in the UAE, is promoting an “outsource zone,” one of several zones aiming to attract specific industries. While wages in the UAE are relatively high, officials highlight its advanced high-tech infrastructure and large talent pool, including educated Southeast Asian and Arab-speaking expatriates.
An outsourcing joint venture between Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas, and another UAE emirate, Abu Dhabi, is pouring $100 million into a new center aimed at Mideast customers. EDS recently started hiring in Morocco to service its European clients. It already has 450 employees in Egypt.
“We see the importance of this region both in itself as a market and as a center from which to service other businesses,” says Charles Cox, EDS’s regional vice president for Middle East and Africa.
Beware not just from whom you are buying, but where they make their products and where they staff their call centers. You could be giving profits or sharing confidential information with our enemies.
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