37th Ordinary Session of the PAPU Adminstrative Council

Speech by UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, Algiers, Algeria, 10 April 2018

Your Excellency Huda Imane Faraoun, Minister of Post and Information and Communication Technologies of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria,

Mr. Abdelkarim Dahmani, the Chairman of Algérie Poste, and President of this PAPU session

Mr. Younouss Djibrine, Secretary General Pan African Postal Union,

My colleague and friend Mr. Pascal Clivaz, the Deputy Director General of UPU

Distinguished delegates and participants,

Dear friends,

Asalamu Aleikum,

My thanks and gratitude to the organizers of this conference, the Government of Algeria as well as the PAPU leadership, for inviting me to this forum.

Our delegation has received a warm welcome here in Algeria, and for that I would like to express my sincere thanks to the authorities of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

We are pleased to be able to participate in this council meeting, which will provide a window into the development of African posts and progress in implementing the Istanbul World Postal Strategy.  

Dear friends,

The UPU is delighted to have such a strong partnership with member countries in this region. It is this partnership that has allowed us to achieve success in our many development projects throughout Africa.

First, allow me to recognize the significant development of postal services that have taken place in this region in recent times.

We have witnessed improved service delivery made possible by the diversification of postal services and the introduction of new technologies.  

These new services include: addressing and home mail delivery; the introduction of the Global Monitoring System (GMS); the Customs Declaration System; and the development of e-commerce and postal financial services, among many others.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In 2017 the UPU launched the implementation of its Regional Development Plan for the Africa region. The focus has been on launching the operational readiness for e-commerce project, which aims to improve the end-to-end performance and reliability of the services offered by operators and to prepare them to actively participate in the development of e-commerce in the region.

To achieve these objectives, I note with satisfaction that national project teams have been established, roadmaps and action plans have been drawn up for 42 countries in the region, three workshops have been organized, and nine field assessment missions have been executed.      

On the other hand, and in order to support this structuring project, regional efforts have been made to strengthen the role of the posts in the areas of digitalization of financial services and financial inclusion, as well as in the development of electronic money transfers. For this purpose, three further workshops were organized.

Six QSF projects were evaluated. These evaluations measured the effectiveness of implementation and the impact on national mail transport and delivery services for the beneficiary Designated Operators.

In addition, the International Bureau coordinated the implementation of bilateral actions in parallel with the regional development projects, financed by donors such as Switzerland and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The involvement of PAPU through the availability of quality of service experts to work closely with the country teams and facilitators within the context of the ORE project. PAPU has also facilitated communication with countries for the development and implementation of RDPs

In addition to the work outlined by the RDPs, the UPU has also launched Ecom@Africa, which aims to position the postal network as a key enabler and facilitator of e-commerce. Through Ecom@Africa, the UPU strives to unite national governments with postal operators under a common goal: to create an e-commerce ecosystem that will enable African citizens and businesses to participate in the national, regional and global economies. The first pilots are now underway in Tunisia, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire.

I pledge that UPU will continue to offer support and technical assistance to ensure the success of these important initiatives.

Dear colleagues,

For now, please allow me update you on preparations for the UPU Extraordinary Congress in Ethiopia this September. 

Only a month ago I was in Addis Ababa to sign the host country agreement with the Ethiopian government and I am pleased to report that the preparations are well underway. The organizing teams are in high gear to prepare for the first UPU Congress on the African continent.

As you are aware, the Congress will discuss various topics including the Reform of the Union, the proposed changes of contribution class for the Union, UPU’s Provident Scheme proposal, as well as the integrated product plan and its related remuneration structure.

I wish to thank you for the support you have given the Ad Hoc Group on UPU Reform, which has achieved consensus on most of the issues under consideration. I wish to urge you to continue this support for the remaining topics so that we can resolve the reform issue that has eluded us for many years. If endorsed, the reform will transform the Union and give members equitable opportunities to make decisions.   

We cannot talk about reform of our working methods without also addressing the funding challenges that put our work at risk. The UPU has been facing a very difficult financial situation for years now.

These problems are fuelled by the inherent weakness of the UPU’s voluntary funding model. The expectations of the UPU set out through its business plan have continued to expand, while the funding level has remained tightly restricted by the zero nominal growth principle.

The impact of this approach has led to severe operational difficulties, and the freezing and abolishment of posts, which in turn has adversely affected the Union’s ability to meet expectations of members.

To comprehensively address this issue the Istanbul Congress created a task force, which has been actively working since May 2017 and will report on the matter this September at the Addis Ababa Congress. I urge you to support the work of this task force to enable it accomplish its task and strengthen the capacity of the Union to deliver to members.

Another topic we will discuss in Addis Ababa will be the UPU’s Provident Scheme, which has accumulated a funding deficit over the last several years. The Istanbul Congress decided to establish a task force to study this problem and to propose a solution for stability and long-term sustainability of the fund. I, therefore, wish to request you to support the work of the task force in addressing the matter.

The Congress will also make decision on the Integrated Product Plan and Integrated Remuneration Plan, which together will foster the sustainability of the postal network and enable all Posts to take advantage of the e-commerce opportunity.

IPP will facilitate the development of the postal network amidst emerging supply chain requirements, especially regarding electronic advanced data.

This proposal to Congress will be finalized at the upcoming Postal Operations Council in April. We will need your kind support to have the proposals endorsed for Congress.

Lastly, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to invite you to our council meetings that run in the next two weeks. We will be grateful for the voice of Africa to help us make serious decisions that will help develop our industry to better compete in the world business.

            With those remarks, I wish to again thank you for this opportunity to address you and I look forward to continuing this dynamic and mutually beneficial partnership in the future.