UPU DG calls on African Posts to diversify services

22.05.2017 - Universal Postal Union Director General Bishar A. Hussein has called on postal operators in Africa to diversify their services in order to cope with current industry dynamics adversely affecting their business.

UPU Director General Bishar Hussein poses for a photo with Uganda's ICT and National Guidance Minister Frank Tumwebaze (right). On the left is the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Bagiire Vincent Waiswa.

Addressing participants during the Pan African Postal Union’s (PAPU) 36th Administrative Council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, Amb. Hussein advised PAPU member countries to invest in innovation so as to develop products that meet the changing needs of customers.

“We are all aware that the postal sector is undergoing unprecedented changes, characterised by rapid technological development, globalisation of postal markets and increased competition. These are factors that are making us seek new ways of doing business in order to remain relevant for our customers. The new shift calls for greater innovation and diversification of products to march the changing needs and expectations of customers,” said Amb. Hussein.

Operational readiness

Amb. Hussein, who was accompanied by UPU Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz, also participated in a three-day Operational Readiness for E-commerce in Africa start-up workshop sponsored by UPU through its technical cooperation programme.

He told participants that UPU had identified e-commerce as the priority area of growth for the postal sector and called on African postal administrations to adopt new technology and upgrade their logistics capacity to be able to successfully participate in this new online market.

He further said it was the realization of the need to adopt online services that inspired the UPU’s Ecom@Africa project, which aims to help countries in the continent to set up e-commerce services for the Post

“Africa is considered the weakest link in the global postal network and that is why we have prioritized it in this programme,” he said.

Ugandan participation

Meanwhile, Uganda has requested the UPU’s assistance to set up an e-commerce platform for the Post under the Ecom@Africa project.

Speaking during a courtesy call by Amb. Hussein, Uganda’s Minister for ICTs and National Guidance, Mr. Frank Tumwebaze, said his ministry was preparing a national digital strategy for the country and that the Ecom@Africa project was seen as the best approach to achieve its goals.  The digital strategy will address all sectors of the economy in Uganda, he said.

Amb. Hussein pledged to assist the country in implementing the project.

So far six other countries—including Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia—have engaged the UPU for advice in setting up Ecom@Africa.  Amb. Hussein said the UPU’s International Bureau was prepared to help any member country interested in implementing the project so as to achieve faster take up of e-commerce for the continent’s postal network.

Remittances

Earlier, Amb. Hussein had attended the Third Pan African Forum on Migration in Kampala, Uganda. The event was organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

During the meeting, Amb. Hussein informed participants that the UPU, in collaboration with IOM and other partners, was working on a project to facilitate a more affordable financial remittance system targeting migrant communities. The pilot project is soon to be launched in Burundi and will be facilitated through the country’s postal network.

If successful, similar projects will be replicated in other parts of the continent now home to large migrant communities in the diaspora.

Technical cooperation, eCommerce, Money transfers
 

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  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
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