The workshop on May 2-4 had participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal.
The African region has committed to making e-commerce development its main priority under the draft Istanbul World Postal Strategy to be adopted at the Universal Postal Congress in Istanbul this September.
During the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to provide input on action plans to be implemented next cycle.
Throughout the week, UPU experts are presenting countries with key principles, strategies and products to help broaden their e-commerce offerings. The gathering includes sessions on the current market situation, B2C e-commerce, physical services, electronic services, financial solutions, addressing, international trade, the postal supply chain and account management.
UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz, and Pan African Postal Union Secretary General Younouss Djibrine opened the proceedings, remarking on participants’ enthusiasm to improve e-commerce as the region develops.
“As a Kenyan, Africa is very close to my heart and I am very proud to see we are not very far behind the rest of the world in our ideas, our thinking, our strategies and our plans,” Hussein acknowledged. “The continent may not have all the resources it needs to implement everything it wants, but at least we can say that African Posts fully understand the environment in which they operate.”
Home to more than one billion people, Africa remains a largely untapped market for e-commerce services. The region faces several key challenges in successfully implementing e-commerce, namely, non-existent or unreliable electricity supply, lack of addressing systems, low connectivity and knowledge gaps.
“This workshop is an important one as it will form the base for work to be carried out during the next cycle, where e-commerce will remain a key project, and could act as a very important springboard for the development of postal services,” said Djibrine.
“This event accords us the opportunity to develop strategies to take on the challenges associated with e-commerce services in African Posts,” he added.
For his part, the UPU Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz said:“This week we will focus on Africa and, as we have heard, there is no shortage of challenges. But I think we will see success if we work hand-in-hand to create solutions.”