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Outsourcing software development to South Africa

By Angelo Z

South Africa is becoming a dominant player in software development outsourcing. Software development agencies like ours in South Africa are a part of the statistics that make our country the third-largest emerging BPO geography globally.

So, what makes South Africa a prime destination for outsourcing software development? 

South Africa has the largest talent pool of developers on the continent. Outsourcing developers here is an attractive option for international clients due to the tech business climate, the number of developers per capita, and a limited language barrier, which international companies may find to be a challenge when considering outsourcing software development to other countries that don’t speak English as predominantly as we do. 

Let’s look at more reasons why international clients should outsource their software development to South Africa.  



South Africans speak English as their native language. The EF English Proficiency Index rated South Africa 12th out of 111 with very high English speaking proficiency. 

Additionally, South Africans tend to share a similar culture with countries like the US and the UK. Tech hubs in the country like Cape Town and Johannesburg are possibly the most significant examples of this in the business sector. 

Several development projects that are outsourced to South Africa are complex with many features and functionality, process flows, and automation. Being able to fully understand the project requirements from a client is essential to the success of the project. 

At Elemental, we work with clients as their tech partners. This means that we go the extra mile to add value to their projects by offering high-level technical advice and software development consultancy where required, and this is made much easier by being able to talk to each other without language barriers.  


Western clients enjoy working with outsourced South African software development companies, not just for their high quality of work. South Africa follows the South African Standard Time which has a marginal time zone difference from Europe, the UK and the East Coast of the US. 

This is favourable for international clients because they can easily communicate with their outsourced development partner during similar working hours.  


South Africa has been a sought-after outsourcing destination since the early 2000s with call centres, and it comes as no surprise that the country is a great option for outsourcing web development.  Cape Town, where we are based, Durban, and Johannesburg are considered to be the outsourcing trio of South Africa. 

With the current advancements in technology that streamline communication, project management, and collaboration, outsourcing can be conducted in any country across the globe. However, outsourcing also presents its own set of challenges that need to be tackled, such as efficient project management and clear communication to ensure that clients stay informed about the progress of the project and the deliverables.

Countries that have extensive experience in outsourcing come with their own advantages, including the ability to mitigate risks from a client's perspective when working with an offshore development team. Clients need to have confidence and trust in the processes and development team, which is crucial for delivering the project on time and meeting the agreed-upon specifications.

It's crucial to establish clear and effective communication channels, project management strategies, and deliverables that meet the client's expectations. With proper planning, outsourcing can provide tremendous benefits to both the client and the outsourcing country, enabling them to work together towards a successful project outcome. 


At the moment, the South African rand has a highly advantageous exchange rate for companies that do business in GBP, USD, or Euros. This makes it an affordable and attractive destination for outsourcing.

The favourable exchange rate means that companies can save a significant amount of money on their development costs when outsourcing software development to South Africa. This includes reduced labour costs, lower overheads, and access to a large pool of skilled developers who are willing to work for competitive rates compared to the UK and Europe. 

South Africa is a rapidly growing market with a young, ambitious, and tech-savvy workforce. The country has a thriving tech industry, a robust infrastructure, and a favourable business environment, making it an ideal destination for companies looking to expand their global reach.


Cape Town has become a major startup investment hub that attracts both local and international attention. The city boasts a strong ecosystem and supports entrepreneurs. 

The city has a ton of highly skilled professionals, especially when it comes to software developers, designers, and efficient project managers. This, in conjunction with a lower cost of living compared to the UK, US, Europe, and the Nordic region, Cape Town’s strong and supportive infrastructure, helps to cultivate a thriving startup scene for international clients to have access to top-tier talent without having to break the bank. 


If you’re on the verge of outsourcing your software development to a South African web development company, it’s important to look out for these factors to ensure that the development agency is a good fit for your business. 


When choosing an outsourcing software development company, it is beneficial to look for one that has in-depth knowledge and experience in your industry as well as the processes and tasks you plan to outsource. This can ensure that the company has the skills and capacity to handle your project.

To assess the level of experience the company you would like to outsource to has, you can ask them about their past work and case studies that they have completed in your industry. If you ask the right questions and evaluate a software development company’s experience and expertise, you can find a reliable tech partner like us in South Africa. 


You can assess a software development company's technical expertise by reviewing their portfolio of work or case studies and inquiring about the technologies they use to build custom web apps, websites, and platforms. You can also look at their reviews and ratings online by viewing their profile on Clutch or Goodfirms

Be sure to inquire about their development processes and methodology. Are they agile in their approach to software development, or do they stick to traditional systems? You can also ask about their testing capabilities and maintenance. 


As they will be a remote team, you should check that their communication systems will work for you. The company should be responsive, transparent, and collaborative in its communication with you.

You should establish your communication expectations with the development company, and know how and how frequently you will be updated on the progress of your project.  


South African software development agencies have established themselves as formidable players in the global development outsourcing market. South Africa’s abundance of English-speaking developers, similar time zones, experienced outsourcing partners, cost-effectiveness, and innovative tech hubs make it an attractive destination for international clients. The supportive infrastructure, particularly in Cape Town, and a favourable business climate have helped to create a thriving tech industry, which provides access to top-tier talent. 

To find a reliable outsourcing partner in South Africa, we recommend considering a development company's technical expertise, industry experience, and past work, among other factors. With proper planning and communication, outsourcing to South Africa can be an excellent strategy for international clients looking for great development from a reliable outsourced web development agency

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Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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