By Greg Brown
India is ramping up investments in Latin America, targeting Ecuador for $2 million in IT funding in the near term, says India’s ambassador in Ecuador, Riewad V. Warjri. The Asian outsourcing giant is looking for “partners in areas of technological collaboration, capacity building in BPOs, KPOs, and call centers, providing banking software platform, sharing latest cyber security protocols,” he told Indian daily Financial Express.
In an earlier video interview with Nearshore Americas, Ecuador’s trade commissioner Karina Amaluisa said the country hopes to double the size of its IT services industry.
To date, Indian firms in Latin America employ 18,000, the newspaper reported, in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.
Growth in the region might come at the cost of Indian investment in the United States. Politicians there are putting pressure on top Indian outsourcing firms, including Infosys, Wipro, Mahindra Satyam, and Tata, whom they charge import unskilled foreigners to fill jobs on U.S. soil.
Ronil Hira, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, told the House of Representatives this week that the big Indian outsourcers have abused the H-1B visa program, which was designed to attract high-tech talent, not call-center workers.
These imported workers “directly substitute for, rather than complement, workers in America,” Hira told a House judiciary panel, according to a New York Times report. Indian companies brought nearly 23,000 workers into the country during the recession, Hira said.
Ecuador is growing fast, putting on 2.64% in the fourth quarter compared to the previous three-month period, according to its central bank. That’s the fastest growth since 2007, led by construction and the fishing industry, Bloomberg reported.
The government expects to beat its previous target of 5.06% growth on stronger demand for oil, Bloomberg noted. Ecuador is a member of the oil cartel OPEC.
“We are reviewing the scenarios, but we are optimistic. In the second half of the year we could see an upward revision for economic growth,” Minister of Economic Policy Coordination Katiuska King told reporters recently.
The economy grew 3.58% in 2010, close to the government target for the year of 3.73%.