5th Extraordinary Session of PAPU Plenipotentiary Conference, Madagascar, July 2018

Speech by the UPU Director General, Mr. Bishar A. Hussein, at the 5th Extraordinary Session of PAPU Plenipotentiary Conference, Antananarivo, Madagascar, 26 July 2018

President Rajaonarimampianina,

Minister Maharante

Minister Minette Libom Li Likeng,

Secretary General Djibrine,

Postmaster General Rakotomalala,

Representative of the African Union Commission,

Chief Executive Officers and other senior officials from Ministries, Regulators and Designated Postal Operators in PAPU member countries,

Representatives from other organizations,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is a great pleasure to address you at the PAPU Extraordinary Plenipotentiary Conference, here in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

I wish to thank PAPU for inviting us to this important African event and the government of Madagascar for hosting this convention.

Dear friends,

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

I appreciate your support in making postal services more accessible and in modernizing them through the adoption of new technologies.

This is very much in line with the UPU’s vision for the future and we look forward to our future partnership to achieve the intended goal.

We also recognize the significant development of postal services that took place in this region in recent times.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In 2017, the UPU started the implementation of its Regional Development Plan for the Africa region.

We focused on launching the operational readiness for the 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 participate in the development of e-commerce in the region.

On the other hand, and in order to support this project, regional efforts have been made to strengthen the role of the posts in the areas of digitalizing financial services and financial inclusion, as well as in the development of electronic money orders.

In addition to the work outlined by the RDP, 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 enabling African citizens and businesses to participate in the national, regional, and global economies. The first pilot is now underway in Tunisia.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This Congress is being held at an opportune time when the postal sector is facing unprecedented changes and increasing calls for the sector to transform and become more modernized, diversified, competitive, and responsive to customer needs.

As you know, the success of the sector lies in seizing opportunities offered by the evolving market realities, growing e-commerce, big data, and financial services. It is no longer business as usual for the Post.

The postal organizations are called upon to come up with new strategies geared to reposition and transform the sector, and with new products and services that resonate with the changing needs of the population.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The UPU will work with member countries to help them develop new products and services that meet current customers’ needs.

We must continuously innovate and improve our products and services to remain competitive in the market, and the UPU will work with the Posts to facilitate capacity building in different fields.

Dear colleagues,

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

Just a month ago, I was in Addis Ababa to meet with the Minister of telecommunication and information technology, 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 to the contribution class of the Union, the UPU Provident Scheme, 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 the UPU Reform, which has achieved a consensus on most of the issues under consideration.

I urge you to continue your 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 its members equitable opportunities to make decisions.

But, we cannot talk about reform without 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 in its business plan have continued to expand, while the funding level has remained tightly restricted by a zero nominal growth principle.

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

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 their work to help them accomplish their goal.

Another topic for us to discuss in Addis Ababa is the UPU Provident Scheme, which has accumulated a funding deficit in recent 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, encourage you to support the work of the task force in addressing this matter.

The Congress will also decide on the Integrated Product Plan (IPP) and the Integrated Remuneration Plan, which together will foster the sustainability of the postal network and enable all Posts to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities.

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

Pascal Clivaz, the UPU Deputy Director General and my friend, will present to you the details of all the agenda items for the Extraordinary Congress after this opening ceremony.

Your Excellencies ministers, distinguished participants, ladies, and gentlemen, with these remarks, I would like to thank you and I wish you fruitful deliberations.

Thank you.