The African Union Commission (AUC) has joined forces with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) on a major initiative to ensure that the postal sector can play a catalytic role in socio-economic development in Africa.
To this end, the three institutions will organize a special event for donors alongside the forthcoming First Specialized Technical Committee (STC) meeting of AU ministers of Communication, Posts and ICTs to be held from 31st August to 4th September, 2015, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Institutions expected to participate in the event whose theme is “Leveraging the Postal Network to foster Socio-economic Development in Africa” include AU member countries, bilateral funding agencies, development banks and UN agencies and other multilateral donors’ organizations.
The donors’ conference initiative comes hot on the heels of a recent study by PAPU and UPU that puts forward a strong case for the sector. It demonstrates that the postal sector’s vast presence among populations, through its pervasive and wide network of 26’600 outlets across Africa, has a distinctive advantage in the delivery of inclusive services, including social, economic and financial.
The proposed joint AUC-UPU-PAPU project is about using infrastructure which is present throughout rural areas of all UA member countries, bringing it up to speed in terms of connectivity and using it as a catalyst for socio-economic development.
Quoting the World Bank, the study shows that post offices are the world’s cheapest providers of remittance services. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, the study says, migrants and their families could save up to 3.2 billion US dollars a year if all remittances were channeled through post offices.
The initiative will use postal networks throughout Africa to:
– Reduce financial exclusion by providing rural and peri-urban communities with access to a full gamut of affordable financial services meeting their expectations (payments, savings, insurance and credit);
– Reduce the digital divide;
– Provide rural populations with the enabling infrastructure that will ensure they can create new economic opportunities for themselves: logistics services, access to market information, access to government services, etc., thereby contributing to poverty reduction efforts in rural areas;
– Contribute to ensuring the sustainable development of rural areas by adopting low-carbon technology and renewable energy sources.
Besides the focus on donors’ participation, ministers representing 13 African countries that have been selected for a pilot phase will make brief presentations to affirm their willingness to include the modernization of postal infrastructure in their respective priority of national development plans and the level of commitment needed to ensure the successful realization of the project.
Prior to the ministerial meeting, experts will consider several major postal projects and submit proposals to the consideration of ministers. These will include projects related to Addressing and Post Code Systems, financial inclusion initiatives, harmonization of postal policies and regulations in Africa, discussions on universal postal service and, of course, postal infrastructure.
- Executive Summary
- Informations sur le visa
- Informations visa
- List of hotels
- Download the draft agenda and work programme of the ministerial session
- Download the draft agenda and work programme of the experts session
- Information on the Electrification and Connectivity Project for post offices in Africa