SPEECH FOR THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, TOURISM AND CULTURE HON. KONDWANI NANKHUMWA (MP), DURING THE 33RD ORDINARY SESSION OF PAPU ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL MEETING AT THE BINGU INTERNATIONAL CONFRENCE CENTRE (BICC), LILONGWE, MALAWI, 5th AUGUST, 2014.
- THE SECRETARY FOR INFORMATION, TOURISM AND CULTURE, MRS CHIMWEMWE BANDA;
- THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION, MR. BISHAR HUSSEIN;
- THE CHAIRMAN OF PAPU ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL, PROF. JOHN S. NKOMA;
- THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE PAN-AFRICAN POSTAL UNION, MR YOUSOUSS DJIBRINE;
- EXCELLENCIES, HEADS OF INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS BASED HERE IN LILONGWE;
- REPRESENTATIVES OF GOVERNMENTS OF PAPU MEMBER STATES AND SUB-REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS;
- THE BOARD CHAIRMAN OF MALAWI POSTS CORPORATION, MR JIMMY KOREA MPATSA;
- THE BOARD CHAIRPERSON OF MALAWI COMMUNICATIONS REGULATORY AUTHORITY, MRS MARTHA KWATAINE;
- CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF DESIGNATED POSTAL OPERATORS AND REGULATORY AUTHORITIES OF PAPU MEMBER COUNTRIES;
- DISTINGUISHED DELEGATES;
- MEMBERS OF THE PRESS;
- LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
I wish to extend a warm and hearty welcome to all of you to Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa, and in particular, to the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Pan African Postal Union Administrative Council. Allow me to also welcome in, a special way, the Secretary General of PAPU, his team for the close collaboration during the preparations of this meeting.
On behalf of the Government and the people of Malawi, I wish to express my profound gratitude to the Secretary General of PAPU and his team for being forthright on holding this meeting in Malawi. I am sure that you have already found and hope that you will still find Malawi and in particular, the Lilongwe environment enjoyable and exciting during the rest of your stay.
The Government of Malawi greatly appreciates the role that PAPU, sub regional postal organizations and the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union play in spreading the development of the postal industry in Africa. Many people at some point thought that this sector was fast heading for a sun set. However, these international organizations have tirelessly provided the right direction to ensure that the industry does not only survive but continuously grows to great heights. The world can now see a postal industry that is vibrant and ready to offer innovative services that we could not imagine only a decade ago.
Malawi is seeing more players joining the industry, a scenario which is presenting a competitive postal environment, which has culminated into diverse ICT products and a wider range of choice to users of postal services. Traditional postal services have also unprecedentedly been improving day by day to meet the present day customer needs.
The Government of Malawi reaffirms its commitment to PAPU’s membership, along with other players in order to further develop the sector which is playing a crucial role towards Malawi’s economic development agenda.
The Government of Malawi recognizes and supports PAPU’s six strategic objectives that have the greatest potential to transform and modernize postal services on the continent. Malawi has dedicated herself to live to the
expectations of PAPU in that today, we can proudly talk about conducive environment for provision of postal services in Malawi, increased number of postal outlets, creation of new ICT products and services, promotion of reforms for sustainable development of the sector, development of postal financial services not only to urban areas but also to the 80% of the population who live in rural- under/ unbanked areas, among many other things.
In order to spearhead the postal development in the country, the Government of Malawi through the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) as a regulator of the communications industry championed the review of the Communications Act (1998). The draft revised Act has incorporated aspects of Universal Service Fund, for example, from which the Public Postal Operator – MPC will be compensated for their Universal Service Obligation. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, will greatly help to increase access to postal services especially by people living in areas and the underprivileged.
In fulfillment of one of the strategic objectives of PAPU, the Malawi Government through MACRA has partnered with the Public Postal Operator, the Malawi Posts Corporation in enhancing ICT services by establishing telecentres in rural post offices. As a result of this partnership, Malawians in rural areas are now able to access internet services within their localities without having to travel long distances since the Public Postal Operator boasts of having outlets in all corners of the country.
These interventions, ladies and gentlemen, are some of the issues that have been carried out in an effort to develop the postal sector in Malawi.
However, we are keenly looking forward to recommendations, resolutions and decisions of this meeting in order for us to be appropriately guided on how to further improve our postal sector.
Looking at the programme of this meeting, I note that it covers a number of intricate and crucial issues for the development of the postal industry in Africa. I also note that included in the programme is a panel discussion, one on Postal Regulation: Stimulating Growth and Improvements in the Quality of Service as well as discussions other one on Financial Inclusion.
Clearly the selection of these topics should keep all delegates excited not just to learn from the discussion but also to share experiences across the sub region.
Therefore, the task ahead of you is crucial and need not be overemphasized. I am convinced that by the time we finish this meeting, all delegates will have acquired additional information, the required level of motivation and a renewed commitment that is necessary for a pragmatic paradigm shift to implement the outcomes of this meeting- all of which are aimed at improving the postal sector as a prelude to economic growth and development.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, allow me once again to call upon member states to continue working with restricted unions like PAPU and other players, already mentioned, for the development of the postal industry in Africa.
Finally, I wish in earnest to urge you to visit other places of interest within the country to sample our culture and hospitality; do not confine yourselves to the BICC only. Again, whilst delegates should feel welcome to Malawi at this moment,
they should not hesitate to make a trip and come back to Malawi for private errands.
With these few remarks, I declare the meeting open.
Thank you for your kind attention.