Can the Nigerian government leverage digital jobs to solve the unemployment problem?
Amazon says it is hiring for 3,000 new virtual customer service jobs in South Africa this year.
In a statement on Thursday (18 June 2020), the company said that these roles will range from customer service associates to technical experts who will work virtually and provide 24/7 support to Amazon customers in North America and Europe.
"The addition of 3,000 permanent and seasonal full-time positions will bring the total permanent workforce in South Africa to 7,000", it said.
Amazon said "that employees will be offered a comprehensive benefits package starting on day one, including employer contributions toward medical aid and provident fund, group life cover, employee wellness programmes, and a monthly stipend for a dedicated internet line".
South Africa's Shadow minister of communication and digital technologies took to Twitter to announce the news.
Amazon's journey in South Africa can be traced back to 2004, when it developed its cash-cow service, AWS, in South Africa. To create a clear picture of Amazon's footprint that led to the recently announced jobs, I did an infographic tracking Amazon's journey in South Africa till date.
This comes on the heels of a strategy primer by Genesis Analytics tagged South Africa in the Digital Age, that described digitally traded services as the new gold of South Africa.
While this is a welcomed development, the basic requirement may be a barrier to the digitally excluded. The requirements are as follows:
Existing and dedicated uncapped Fiber line 10Mbs Download and 5Mbps Upload (ADSL, LTE lines and Wi-Fi connections are not eligible for this role). Please note that proof of connectivity will be required.
Home environment free from background noise where you can connect the equipment directly to the router/modem via Ethernet cable
Good command of English (verbal and written)
Typing, phone, and computer navigation skills
Ability to navigate the Internet, email, and chat to customer via Instant Messenger tools
A question that the Nigerian technology policymakers and regulators must answer is "Could digital jobs and digitally traded services be the new oil of Nigeria"? 3,000 jobs in South Africa by Amazon didn't fall from heaven: an enabling business environment, appropriate internet capacity and conscious effort to create employment by the government made it happen.