Posts face challenges, but innovation is creating new services, says UPU Director General in Kenya

12.06.2018 - In a keynote speech, Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) praised the “unique model” of the East African Communications Organisation (EACO); called on Posts to embrace e-commerce opportunities

Technology has brought many opportunities for the Post, UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein told a packed gathering of ICT regulators, operators and services providers at the 25th Annual Meeting of EACO in Nairobi, Kenya.

“Through innovation, the Post has taken advantage of technology to roll out new services. The new services, coupled with its large physical network and years of experience with customer services, have made it possible for the Post to remain competitive in the market,” Mr. Hussein said.  

He said the biggest technological upheavals had occurred in electronic commerce and financial services and noted East Africa has enormous potential for these services due to the strength of its Internet connectivity and main commercial centres.

“With a huge young population and a steadily growing middle class, the region holds the promise of success in the e-commerce business. This is where the Post’s opportunities lie,” added the UPU Director General. 

Mr. Hussein acknowledged that technology had also impacted the postal business globally. He said, “The Post, especially in the developing world, also faces challenges of low level funding, fulfillment of certain regulatory obligation and poor infrastructure. These have continued to negatively affect the postal business.”

The UPU Director stressed that UPU was working closely with its African partners through its Ecom@Africa project to assist. The project establishes an inclusive and innovative e-commerce ecosystem provided to postal operators via an online platform. 

He called on postal operators to diversify their services and to leverage growing electronic transactions to strengthen their role in the supply chain. “Diversification is the only sure way for the postal organization to continue performing well in the increasingly competitive market,” said Mr. Hussein. 

Offering further details of UPU’s comprehensive projects in the region, the UPU head said the UN specialized agency was working on eight technical assistance projects within the EACO region. He also highlighted UPU’s recent launch of a Regional Project on Electronic Postal Payment Services in Africa with the participation of a majority of EACO members.

Mr. Hussein praised EACO as a “unique model” that brought together governments, regulators and operators across the ICT sector to discuss issues affecting the sector. “This is one of the best models I have seen anywhere,” he enthused.

Closing his speech. The UPU Director General discussed postal operators’ role in facilitating financial remittance especially for international migrants at more affordable prices.

UPU, together with the International Organization for Migration is currently working with Burundi Post to develop affordable remittance of money from the country’s migrants living in Europe.

On 16 June, along with many of its partners, inside and outside the UN System, UPU will mark the International Day for Family Remittances that recognizes the financial contribution migrant workers make for the wellbeing of their families and the sustainable development of their countries of origin.

Read the Director General's opening remarks here.



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  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
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