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Tuesday, 4 February 2020
Statement of the Director General of the Universal Postal Union Bishar A. Hussein at the Official Opening Ceremony, PAPU 40th Anniversary Celebrations, 18 January 2020
20.01.2020 - Happy birthday to the Pan African Postal Union. It is a great pleasure for me and for the membership of UPU to participate in this great celebration to mark PAPU’s 40th anniversary.
Congratulations to the PAPU membership, the secretary general and the entire secretariat for this milestone. Forty years is a good age to look back and reflect on what you have been able to achieve; the challenges you have faced, and the lessons learned that will help shape the future.
We often say that life begins at 40. This is also true for PAPU given that the dynamics in the postal industry today will present exciting times ahead as you strive to further transform the African post. I have also seen in the programme that today we shall be laying the foundation for the construction of the long-awaited PAPU headquarters. This is a very good development that attests to the fact that, indeed, PAPU has come of age. The headquarter building has been a dream of many for a long time. Today may be the most befitting time for this dream to become reality.
Congratulations PAPU and to all those involved in making this great project a dream come true. The UPU is proud to be associated with PAPU, which is our biggest restricted union in terms of membership. In our work together, we have helped ensure the sustainable development of the region’s Posts and promoted the invaluable efforts of the continent’s designated operators to support their customers. Allow me to mention just a few areas of collaboration between our two organizations in the recent past:
- The Regional Development Plans for Africa – these focused on projects designed to steer the postal sector to greater modernization and prepare it for electronic business takeoff. Among these projects involved was the strategic project for "Electrification and Internet connectivity of post offices in Africa."
- The Postal reform and postal sector regulation – this was delivered through IPDPs to enable regulators and countries that still had no policy for the sector to better define and implement proper sectoral regulation.
- The Development of postal financial services – the project was aimed at extending the corridors of exchange and increasing its volume via the International Financial System. The results was to promote the development of new services.
- The Implementation of operational readiness for e-commerce–-was aimed at improving the interoperability of network infrastructure and development of new products.
- The establishment of three regional postal training centres – the centres were distributed as follows; Younde, Cameroon, for the French-speaking countries, Cairo, Egypt, for the English speaking countries and Tunis, Tunisia for the Arab countries.
- The development of capacity building– delivered through a budget of 4,500,000 CHF to offer consultancy missions with training workshops to cover the main topics and transfer knowledge associated with RDP projects. It also helped in purchasing of equipment and offering solutions leading to improvements in mail processing and delivery.
The next focus for African posts should now be to develop e-commerce capabilities and integrate with other players in the value chain to achieve competiveness in pricing and service delivery. Within this focus, UPU has developed the Ecom@Africa to assist African posts design and implement viable e-commerce platforms that will incorporate SMEs to create robust virtual markets for their respective countries and export.
We are working with a number of countries to set up regional hubs that will later be replicated across the continent. Tangible progress for the development of these hubs is being made in Ethiopia, Tunisia and Côte d’Ivoire. We are in discussion with a number of other countries to set up the project.
As we move to a new UPU cycle 2021-2024, we shall be calling on our members in Africa, and the rest of the world to adopt radical policies that would make the post more profitable. We will also be expecting a review in the definition of universal service and a renewed mechanism for its implementation. We look forward to your usual support in achieving these goals.
UPU will be happy to continue working with PAPU to make the next anniversary a celebrations of success of the African post and a boost for economic development for the continent. Thank you.