On 18th January, 2016, the African postal fraternity celebrated the 36th edition of the Pan African Post Day under the theme: “The Post: A catalyst of socio-economic development“.
At PAPU General Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania, the ceremony to mark the event took place at the Kibo Palace Hotel in the presence of representatives of various international organizations and the administrative authorities of the region of Arusha. Representatives of the Tanzania Posts Corporation (TPC) and the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) delivered speeches in solidarity with the African postal fraternity.
In his traditional address, the Secretary General of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), Mr Younnouss Djibrine, emphasized that over the last three decades, the continent’s postal fraternity has focused on the key engines of transformation of the sector in response to the ever-changing tastes of customers and the evolving business environment.
He expressed satisfaction with the fact that the post has taken advantage of emerging opportunities in the business environment, notably the ICT platforms and innovations to meet the needs and expectations of the market. The PAPU Secretary General further underscored that the post offices have actually become fully-fledged business and modern communication centers providing easy access to e-mails, internet surfing, electronic money transfers, hybrid mail, settlement of utility bills, ICT use training, e-government services, etc.
It should be borne in mind that the Pan African Post Day is happening at a time when the role of the postal sector seems to be no longer recognized and appreciated in many countries, especially in the developing world. The erroneous notions on the post prevailing amongst many people stems generally from a poor knowledge of its capacity to adapt to constant evolution.
As Mr Younnous noted, there is a perception that the post can only handle physical mail and the conventional money order, and that the arrival of the digital era therefore sounds the death knell of the sector. This cannot be further from the truth. Definitely not!
E-commerce, our Priority No. 1…
New institutional frameworks deriving from new policies and laws are now in place, setting off unprecedented liberalization of the postal industry and services. In most countries, postal services have been separated from mainstream government ministries and departments, and corporatized.
The advent of the digital age, particularly the Internet, has fuelled the pressure, the pace and the need for change. These developments have not gone unnoticed by stakeholders in the postal sector; hence the push for re-invention of postal services in order to remain relevant and competitive.
In this dispensation, the new post positions itself as the ideal facilitator of economic activities, by offering a one-stop-shop solution to online shopping enthusiasts through its tridimensional network (physical, financial and electronic).
To this end, all regions of the World, including Africa, have identified e-commerce as Priority No. 1 in the framework for development of a future world postal strategy for the next Congress cycle. The UPU Congress will be held later this year in Istanbul, Turkey.
At the end of his address, the Secretary General answered questions from the press which focused on how the post can seize challenges posed by new ICT based innovations and turn them into opportunities.