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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ministers debate the postal sector’s future

08.10.2012 - The Post is one of the most ancient means of conveying information but it is also a forward-looking service shaped by the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs), said Nikolay Nikiforov, Russian minister of telecoms and mass communications.

He was one of 60 ministers attending the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) first ministerial conference today in Doha, Qatar.
The gathering of ministers and business leaders in the postal sector addressed pressing topics facing the industry as it strives to remain relevant in an increasingly technologically advanced world.
The postal sector has a vital role to play in modern times, but its role is evolving due to disruption caused by ICTs, several ministers stated.  
The Post allows the government to be present in the most remote areas in any national territory, providing key services, Nikiforov said. In Russia, there are 140 million people, but only 80 million live in urban centres. Here, the postal network plays a crucial role thanks to technology supporting traditional services by enhancing nationwide access to all government services.

Social inclusion

Several ministers agreed that postal services should harness technology to more efficiently provide essential services to their countries’ citizens. “People… need… services that can be delivered over a postal network leveraging ICTs,” said Omobola Johnson, Nigerian minister of communication technology.
Johnson added that the Post’s role will change completely going forwards but it needs to remain focused on social inclusion. “An address means an identity. People who have an address... can be offered government services,” Johnson said.
“The impact of technology will affect countries at different rates and in different ways,” said Dina Pule, South Africa’s minister of communications. Technology has already assisted the postal services in her country improving the welfare of citizens. Global positioning system technology allowed South Africa to provide addresses to people living in shacks.  
More than 1,000 delegates are attending the ministerial conference, which is being held during the UPU’s 25th Congress in Doha. 
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