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Sunday, June 14, 2015

UPU News : African postal sector prioritises improving quality of service

05.06.2015 - At the Africa regional strategy conference, national postal stakeholders, such as governments and public postal operators, have agreed that operational efficiency and developing e-commerce solutions are top priorities.

Conference delegates discussed the main challenges facing African Posts (Photo: PAPU)
The two-day conference, held on May 31 - June 1 in Khartoum, Sudan, was organised by the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), a UPU restricted union.
Its goal, like that of six other regional conferences to follow, was to host discussions on developing the UPU’s next world postal strategy. This global roadmap for 2017-2020 will be adopted by the UPU Congress in 2016.
Addressing challenges that the sector is facing, UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein said: “Posts in Africa must display the same pioneering spirit they have always shown and harness the power of innovation to adapt to customers’ new communication needs.”
“Innovation, integration and inclusion stand out clearly as the drivers of the postal sector in the future,” he added.
Younouss Djibrine, PAPU secretary general, told delegates that measures must be taken to ensure the universal postal service can adapt to an evolving market and changing customer needs.
This includes improving quality of service for domestic and international mail, offering new financial services and e-services, revamping regulation and addressing infrastructure deficits.


The Khartoum conference also tackled the quality-of-service issues, which Posts in Africa hope to improve upon in coming years.
These include striving to meet the global standard for international letter-post set at delivery on the fifth working day after the item was posted for 85 per cent of items (or J+5).
In a region where strong private competition is present, regulation was another key topic discussed.
Participants encouraged governments to examine whether existing regulation reflects properly the actual market situation and enables an even playing field that does not leave the designated postal operator at a disadvantage.
Infrastructure alone represents a major challenge for African postal operators, according to PAPU.
As of 2013, more than a fifth of post offices in Africa did not have electricity. To offer new services to customers, such as financial products, more post offices will need to have reliable energy sources and Internet connections.
Financial services could very well prove to be a promising revenue stream for postal operators, as three-quarters of the adult population in Africa do not have access to banking services.

UPU view

For the UPU’s part, the director general assured delegates that the organization itself will undergo a fundamental review to respond better to member countries’ requirements.
“There is an urgent need for quick decision-making processes in UPU that will provide more flexible responses to those changing needs,” Hussein said.
The next Regional Strategy Conference will cover Latin America and will take place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from June 10-11.

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