High-level personalities from Mali, Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia, Angola, Cameroon, Kenya, Burundi, Chad, Sudan, Malawi and South Africa attended an opening ceremony in Arusha, Tanzania, on January 18.
Tanzania’s vice-president, Mohammed Shein, presided over the ceremony and set in motion a series of activities. These included a postal industry exhibition and a three-day postal forum. The challenges of providing universal postal service, the UPU’s regional development approach, product and service diversification and the development of e-services were among the topics discussed. The forum highlighted the postal agenda and infrastructure as among Africa’s national priorities for socio-economic development.
The African Union Commission's Elham Ibrahim commended PAPU for its focus on developing e-services and postal reform. She said that the AUC would support Africa’s postal sector in its efforts to harmonize policies and regulations leading to its sustainable development.
In his message to PAPU, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said that, by hosting PAPU’s headquarters, his country had kept alive the ideals of Africa’s founding fathers of building a developed and integrated continent. He said his country supported the Union’s aim of developing postal services on the continent. “In order to realize this noble goal, it is important to provide affordable, reliable and efficient postal services,” he said.
UPU Director General Edouard Dayan said PAPU’s 30th anniversary theme of bridging the digital divide was a challenge for postal services not only in Africa, but in many other regions, too. He said that, although postal services provide a real and unique opportunity to bridge the digital gap, they are also a driver of economic and social development in Africa.
PAPU Secretary General Rodah Masaviru urged the restricted union's 43 member countries to strengthen the Union in order to strategically position it internationally as a united and harmonized voice for safeguarding Africa’s interests and building bridges with international partners for faster development of the continent’s postal infrastructure.
“Postal services have great potential as agents of positive change in the digital era, especially among the underserved communities in rural and urban areas,” she said.
As part of the anniversary celebrations, several PAPU member countries issued stamps to honour African Nobel Prize winners. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, the environmentalist from Kenya, and the son of Nobel Literature laureate, Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, attended the opening ceremony.
Filed by Dick Rayori, Communication manager at PAPURestricted unions