Postal Financial Services Forum Welcome Address by the Director General, April 2019

Distinguished delegates

Dear invited guests

Distinguished speakers, panellists and moderator

Dear colleagues and friends

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour and a great pleasure for me to welcome you all to this important Forum on Shaping postal financial services in a digital economy.

Indeed, today's topic is not only gaining increasing attention among postal operators and other entities related to the postal sector, but it also offers a wonderful opportunity to develop new business opportunities for posts.

Today, rapid IT innovation, cashless payments, especially internet and mobile payments, are flourishing on a global scale. According to an estimate by the World Bank Group, around two-thirds of the 1.7 billion unbanked adults in the world have access to mobile phones or smartphones.

The other change is the global "data revolution." People around the world are creating a gigantic amount of data every second by posting in social networks, browsing websites and issuing location data. It is estimated that over 90 percent of the data produced in the history of humanity has been created in the last two years.

Mobile devices, high-speed data communication, and online commerce are creating expectations that convenient, secure, real-time payment and banking capabilities should be available whenever and wherever they are needed.

Traditional financial service providers must innovate and adapt or be left behind. The goal however remains almost the same: to move money from one individual or business to another in a reliable, secure, low-cost, convenient and comfortable manner.

We are also witnessing the emergence of new mediums, such as, "virtual currencies" or "crypto-assets". There are around 2,000 types of crypto-assets not having a specific issuer and not being denominated in sovereign currency units such as the dollar or the euro.

Blockchain is gathering momentum and has the potential to address financial inclusion issues, and improve cybersecurity and digital identity. Indeed, it has the tremendous potential to “democratize” financial services.

At the same time, due to the recent increase in new entrants, the players in payment and settlement services have become much more diversified. Many new phenomena are also arising from complicated interactions between money, finance, information technologies and data revolution. This is inevitably encouraging us to reconsider the future of postal financial services.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We live in a time of extraordinary technological change. The current climate provides significant opportunities to make meaningful change to the industry, and it is right that we seek to maximize the positive impact that this change can bring, both in terms of benefits for those using our payment services and for the providers.

We should be open to the new ideas and innovations that will drive growth, profitability and improvements to postal financial services. The future is perhaps uncertain and challenging, but it is also open to new out-of-the-box thinking that is promising and exciting.

In these environments, I am very much interested in discussing how potential business opportunities for the Posts will develop in the coming years. And, how these new technologies can help the Postal sector to address Governments and those 2030 Agenda goals on Financial Inclusion, while developing sustainable regulated business and building an ecosystem around Posts?

Today’s Postal Financial Services Forum will try to provide us with some answers to these questions, or at least encourage us to agree on new out-of-the-box opportunities to be explored.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I encourage all participants to actively engage in our discussions and debate. The Forum on “Shaping postal financial services in a digital economy – New potential business opportunities for Posts” is now opened.

I hope this is only the start of our dialogue on this crucial issue and that today’s event will be the foundation for future discussions on this topic.   

Thank you.