Opening ceremony of the 40th Anniversary of PAPU

Remarks of the UPU Director General, Amb. Bishar Hussein, at the opening ceremony of the 40th Anniversary of PAPU

17 January 2020, Arusha, Tanzania

 

H.E Mr Isack A. Kamwelwe, Minister for Works, Transport and Communications,

All other ministers present here,

The PAPU Secretary General, Mr. Younouss Djibrine,

Postmaster General of the Tanzania Posts Corporation, Mr Hassan Mwang'ombe,

Director General of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority Mr James Kilaba,

Invited guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Good Morning,

I thank you for inviting me to the opening of this high-level forum on the theme: “The Post: A veritable partner for financial inclusion and regional integration.”   

PAPU has always been the UPU’s staunch partner with whom we have worked on various project for the benefit of the African post.  I also acknowledge the unstinting support for the UPU by PAPU member countries. The African region has shown formidable support for UPU initiatives with notable contribution and representation in both the Postal Operations Council and the Council of Administration.

I am also proud to offer my own special thanks to the PAPU Secretary General, Mr. Younouss Djibrine, for his inspired and energetic leadership of this illustrious organization. The good organization of this forum is a pointer to the commitment and excellent work that the secretary general and his team have been doing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Access to affordable and inclusive financial service is a continuing challenge facing our continent.

While we have made remarkable progress over the last decade, there are still pockets of underserved population, especially in rural areas and communities that are difficult to reach.

Financial exclusion disproportionately affects the most vulnerable populations of African society. It limits innovative entrepreneurs, it reduces the ability of small businesses to grow, and it hampers the overall economic growth of countries.

This is an area that Posts can make a difference, by serving segments of the population traditionally overlooked by the formal financial sector.

UPU works tirelessly to support our member countries achieve their financial inclusion goals through knowledge, funding, and technical assistance.

I look forward to saying much more on this subject during the workshop in Session 1.

However, let me turn to the second part of today’s theme: regional integration.

The Africa Union Agenda 2063 sets out the vision for Africa’s integration path and the postal sector has a role to play in making integration a reality for the continent.

Trade and market integration, free movement of people are key drivers and some of the most tangible aspects of regional integration.

The postal network's physical, electronic and financial infrastructure offers opportunities for deeper regional integration with larger markets and productivity as part of value chains. The concept of a single global postal network is in itself one of the biggest link to integration in communication, trade and development for all nations of the world.

The UPU, within the framework of the Regional Development Plan for Africa works closely with regional players including AU, PAPU and other international organizations such as WCO and UNCTAD to increase investments in postal infrastructure, and develop a range of postal services meeting the needs of citizens.

Regional integration also means opening up regional tri-dimensional corridors and facilitating trade by cutting time and costs of doing business.

Our Ecom@africa initiative is working on this concept by encouraging stronger government stewardship of the project through designated postal operators and creating a huge virtue market especially for SMEs. The proposed creation of regional hubs within this project will help boost capacities of the less developed nations to link into the continent-wide network and help boost e-commerce in Africa.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

PAPU’s anniversary comes after the conclusion of two amazing extraordinary congresses of our Union: Addis Ababa in September 2018 and Geneva in September 2019.

I thank you for endorsing the proposal for UPU reform at Addis Ababa Congress.

UPU reforms helped us reduce on wastage and created more efficiency in our work for the benefit of members. Most importantly, the reforms helped Africa and other regions achieve equitable representation to the membership of the governing bodies of the Union. This is as opposed to the earlier arrangements where membership, especially to the Postal Operations Council, was skewed in favour of industrialized countries.

I wish to thank PAPU members for the support to the UPU reforms.

Regarding the important discussions on the contentious topic of remuneration rates during the 3rd Extraordinary Congress that took place in Geneva last September, I wish to thank all UPU members for coming together and ensuring the Union remained strong and relevant to today’s business environment.    

You made an historic decision not only on the subject of remuneration rates, but also on the need for multilateralism, which is the very essence intergovernmental organizations such as UPU and PAPU.

Mr. Minister, distinguished delegates,

The UPU’s work is driven by the results of the many collaborative events that we have had with high-level stakeholders over the years. These events involve ministers in charge of the Post, CEOs and other key leaders of the industry.  

Our next reform initiatives that we will be proposing this year to our Congress aim to achieve the following:

  • Increased investment and focused policies by governments in postal development that will help promote postal businesses and place them in competitive position with other industries.
  • A harmonized and enhanced sector’s regulatory framework to address the industry’s dynamics in a competitive environment.
  • Strong and efficient postal operators achieved by implementing diversified strategies and operational improvements. For the post to thrive it has to adopt a complete business culture.
  • Opening up of postal markets, where all players work collaboratively under a single regulatory framework for equity, fairness and level playing field. As a global standards body for postal business, the UPU is willing to help integrate all these players under the single global postal territory.

Mr. Minister,

Over the years, governments through successive Congresses have been urging UPU to consider opening up the participation of the wider industry into the Union.

We hope our proposal to the Congress in August will meet members’ expectations and favour so that it is endorsed and help the industry harmonize its policies, standards and operational focus for the benefit of our citizens. This cannot have come a better time than now when e-commerce is one of the fastest growing segment in world trade. The post is a key player in e-commerce.

Excellences, the preparations for the 27th UPU Congress is progressing well. I am confident that this event will be a source of pride for all of Africa based on the dedication and commitment I have witnessed from the host; the Government of Cote d'Ivoire.

What makes me more confident about the success of our next Congress is the strong support we have from all African countries under the leadership of the Pan African Postal Union.

Lastly Mr. Minister, I want to thank members of PAPU for their support to the Union over the years, and in particular, during my mandate as Director General. 

Thank you