Workshop on digital transformation and diversification of postal services in Africa, Cairo, February 2019

Speech delivered on behalf of the UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein at the ceremony at the Workshop on digital transformation and diversification of postal services in Africa, Cairo, Egypt, 18 February 2019

The Honourable Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mr. Yasser Elkady,

Senior Government Officials, here present,

The representative of the Secretary-General of the Pan African Postal Union,

Chairman of Egypt Post, Mr. Essam Mohammed El Saghir,    

Egypt Post Senior Management,

Representatives from Ministries responsible for Postal and Telecommunications Services and Regulators, in English-speaking African countries,

Representatives from Designated Postal Operators in English-speaking African Countries, here present, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

 

We feel greatly honoured to be addressing you today at this very important occasion,  on the Launch of the UPU Regional Project on Digital Transformation and Diversification of Postal Services in Africa.

First of all, allow me to convey to you greetings and good wishes from the Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) International Bureau, Mr. Bishar A Hussein. On behalf of the UPU Director General and my own behalf, I wish to thank the government of Egypt, for hosting this very important event.  

I also wish to thank the senior management of Egypt Post and the Organising Committee for all the work that was done in preparation for this workshop, being held here at the Regional Training Centre of  Egypt Post.

The UPU is fully committed to supporting postal development in Africa, in view of the critical role that the Posts play in national socio-economic development, as well as in contributing to the attainment of the  African Union Agenda 2063 and the UN  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ladies and Gentlemen, the digital transformation of industries has reached the tipping point where digital has become part of all business, government and consumer transactions. For Posts to remain relevant, they should embrace digital transformation and diversification of postal services, in line with changing customer needs and requirements from the evolving digital economy.

Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are the backbone for sustainable economic development and growth. According to the 2016 Report of the World Economic Forum on Digital Transformation of Industries, the future of countries, businesses, governments, and individuals will depend more than ever before, on whether we embrace digital technologies. Digitalization is leading to a convergence of previously autonomous markets and the opening up of new opportunities for Posts to offer new services or be a partner in the provision of new services to businesses and citizens in our respective countries.

In 2012, the UPU launched .POST in an effort to enhance the role that the Post plays in the digital economy and to provide a secure internet platform for all member countries to operate internet-based postal services. Additionally, UPU members can access secure cloud-based services to help fast-track their adoption of Internet-based technologies. As at the beginning of 2017, twenty-six (26) countries were using .POST to secure their Internet-based postal services.

However, postal digital services for e-post, e-commerce, and e-government (digital ID, payment of pensions, passport formalities, etc.), are still relatively immature and a growing area of opportunity to increase the relevance of postal services to changing customer needs.

It is against this background that the UPU is launching the Regional Project on Digital Transformation and Diversification of Postal Services in Africa, with a view to strengthen the contribution of Posts to digital inclusion and facilitate strong contribution towards achievements on national digital economic strategies, during the 2017-2020 UPU cycle

The overall aim of this project is to contribute to the digital transformation of postal networks through the provision of   technical assistance to beneficiary countries, in order to support the identification  and implementation of effective postal transformation strategies, and to facilitate access to the necessary tools, with a view to build the required capacity in designated postal operators, in supporting national digital economic policies and strategies.

ICT- enabled postal service is a vital tool to implement this mission in the new internet age, especially in response to the changing customer needs, driven by the more widespread availability of ICT and its adoption in developing countries. Ladies and Gentlemen, the evolving digital economy in our respective countries, provide business opportunities which the Posts can capitalize on in an effort to generate the much-needed revenue, as well as to stay relevant in this ever-changing technological environment.

Ladies and Gentleman, the aim of this Start-up Workshop on the Launch of the UPU Regional Project on Digital Transformation and Diversification of Postal Services in Africa, covers the following main areas:

  • Introduce and launch the Regional Project 
  • Investigate the enabling framework
  • To showcase innovations and reflect on the “Post of the future”
  • Explore the drafting and implementation of a digital strategy
  • Explore how Posts can assist in bridging the digital divide in developing countries in partnership with different stakeholders
  • Discuss issues pertaining to strategic positioning of the “Post of the Future” in the digital economy, e-commerce enablement, mobile-enabled services, interfaces with e-commerce partners and related cases studies
  • Assist Designated Operators to develop specific roadmap to start and ensure the follow-up process.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I wish to commend member countries for the efforts being made to improve postal service in the Africa region. The UPU will continue to be your partner in this endeavor and you can count on our total commitment to enhancing postal development in the region.

 I wish you all fruitful deliberations and a successful workshop.

Thank you.