PAPU SG spotlights digitalization as the lifeblood of postal financial inclusion
The Secretary General of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), Mr. Younouss Djibrine, attended the Central African Sub-regional Conference on development of a digital economy organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Yaounde (Cameroon) from 23rd to 25th May 2018. The Conference provided a high-level platform to discuss key issues in the field of digital economic development, with special focus on ICT-based economic integration of the Sub-region.
On this occasion, Mr. Younouss Djibrine delivered a presentation entitled: “The Post’s solution to financial inclusion in the digital era”.
Participants, including the Secretary General of the ITU, were treated to insights into postal financial inclusion. The overarching goal is to harness the postal network to build a financial system that caters for those segments of the population which have been left out of the formal financial sector. This will involve focusing on cost, reliability, access, business opportunities, etc…
He went ahead to showcase the post as a key player in the global financial inclusion of “non-priority” populations, including women and rural populations, just to name a few. For instance, 51 postal outlets worldwide manage 1.6 billion savings accounts, while hundreds of millions of people use the post for remittances or to settle bills.
Highlighting the convergence between postal financial inclusion and digitalization, Mr. Younouss Djibrine pointed out that the post in earning very high digital dividends in the process, as it is able to enhance its competitiveness, roll out new products and services, modernize its services (e-post project in Cameroon), build synergy between the physical and digital networks, cut down on overheads, meet the needs of customers and grow its revenues. Moreover, national communities are leveraging on ICTs and contributing effectively to inclusive socioeconomic development of the continent (e.g. Huduma Centers (business centers) in Kenya.
He added that at PAPU, no effort is being spared to foster financial inclusion driven especially by ICTs. Actions undertaken include: alignment of the PAPU Vision 2020 with the 3 strategic pillars of the UPU (the 3is, namely Innovation, Integration and Inclusion), ongoing implementing of the electrification and connectivity project, preparation of African guidelines for the harmonization of postal policies and regulations, support to Ecom@Africa project (a UPU initiative deemed vital for Africa’s posts in the face of dwindling mail volumes and traditional postal services), fruitful engagements with the African Union, etc…
In concluding his presentation, the PAPU Secretary General made the following recommendations:
- Countries of the sub-region should develop a national financial inclusion strategy;
- Policy-makers, regional and sub-regional organizations, regulatory and other bodies should make financial inclusion a priority;
- Decision-makers should develop laws and regulations that foster development of the financial sector and financial inclusion;-
- E-commerce platforms and online services should be developed;
- Postal operators should develop innovative products that are affordable to all segments of the population;
- Regional and sub-regional bodies should fast-track the policy and regulation harmonization process;
- Postal operators should fast-track the digitalization of their network.