Pan African Postal Union: Message from the Secretary General

THEME: “The post: An essential infrastructure for the development of e-commerce in Africa.”

Dear Colleagues, Dear Partners, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of Member States and the General Secretariat of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), it is my great honor and privilege to address the African Postal Fraternity and all our esteemed partners on this day, as we celebrate the 37th anniversary of our continental postal organization. As we enter the new year 2017 and in line with our brotherly tradition of fostering continental solidarity, I wish to salute you with the slogan: Happy New Year 2017. I trust that under the divine and merciful watch of the Almighty God, you and your loved ones will continue receiving countless blessings, including good health, peace, happiness and prosperity in the year ahead of us and beyond.

PAPU, as a specialized Agency of the African Union responsible for development of postal services in Africa, is 37 years old today and therefore ranks amongst the oldest specialized institutions on our continent. Since its inception on 18th January, 1980 by the then Organization of African Unity (OAU), we can say with certainty today that PAPU has steadily played its role (and grown from strength to strength!) in spearheading this key responsibility for all member states through coordination of development activities, as well as providing technical and strategic support for the postal sector in collaboration with our longstanding stakeholders, while safeguarding the interests of African posts on the international scene. I must add that it is currently the largest intergovernmental Restricted Union affiliated to the Universal Postal Union.

Therefore, it is my singular honor and pleasure to rally the African postal fraternity to join hands in celebrating this 37th edition of the Pan African Post Day (PAPU Day) commemorated under the theme: “The Post: An essential infrastructure for the development of ecommerce in Africa.”
This theme is in line with the top priorities for development of postsidentified by all regions of the world during their respective strategic conferences, which were held in 2015 and it was endorsed in the Istanbul World Postal Strategy by the 26th UPU Congress in October 2016. Through this theme, the postal fraternity conveys a strong message that it is committed to further develop and put its extensive global network at the disposal of governments, customers, businesses and other stakeholders to
spur growth and prosperity for the benefit of all citizens of the world. Furthermore, this resonates very well with the new vision for the postal sector, known as “Vision 2020” which is built on three pillars: Innovation, Integration and Inclusion, the now famous “3is”.

  • Innovation is shared, promoted and driven – not as a luxury, but as a reality for all;
  • Full integration of networks at the national, regional and global levels is a reality;
  •  The postal sector’s unique ability to foster the inclusion of populations, economic actors and territories is fully recognized and exploited by Governments, development partners and international organizations.

Additionally, at the continental level, the theme is fully in sync with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, especially in the areas of integration, socioeconomic inclusion and trade facilitation. A perfect illustration of this was the workshop organized in Addis Abeba in December 2016 by the African Union Commission on the contribution of the post to the materialization of these two lofty agendas. You will recall that during the 2013-2016 cycle, in full realization of its enormous potential as anessential communicationand trade facilitation infrastructure, and consequently an important catalyst for national development, Africa’s postal fraternity, alongside key stakeholders, notably,the African Union Commission and the UPU,has worked out an ambitiousinfrastructure development project, namely the electrification and connectivity project, to cover all post offices on the continent. This project was endorsed at the highest level of the African Union in January 2016 and is now set for implementation as one of the continent’s top priorities.The same holds true for the “Addressing and Post Codes” project financed and championed by the African Union in close consultation with the UPU and PAPU.

In fact, vital contacts have been made to ensure that leading global financiers participate in these projects that are aimed at providing high quality physical, electronic and financial solutions to Africa’s citizen regardless of their location. Our ultimate goal, more than ever, is to leverage on postal networks to foster the economic development of Africa’s rural populations and remote locations. In a nutshell, the postal infrastructure has a solid track record of trust with customers which has been built and nurtured from time immemorial. It has an unparalleled grassroots reach that is well connected globally.It also takes pride in its versatile internally developed and tested financial services competence which has now been upgraded, automated and branded as International Financial System (IFS) to handle money transfers and online payments on a secure platform. The international postal system (IPS) has been developed as well to handle parcel post on both the domestic andinternational segments. consequently, notwithstanding the need for connectivity and addressing, which are definitely preconditions but not ends in themselves all this goes a long way to illustrate that the post is poised to increase its momentum for immediate takeoff and development of e-commerce in Africa, while playing its intrinsic and rightful role as a hub for an integrated three-dimensional network (physical, electronic and financial),operating under one roof. Leveraging on its extensive network of post offices with a solid presence in both urban and rural areas, Africa’s postis set to position itself in the e-commerce market as a linchpin on this fast-growing segment of the new economy.

In this regard, I am happy to announce that under the auspices of the UPU and as part of the quadrennial Regional Development Plan for Africa (RDPA) for the 2017-2020 period, we are currently working on a key project code-named Ecom@Africa, aimed at developing and implementing virtual platforms for e-commerce as well as “smart” storage and distribution systems in each of the five regions across Africa. God willing, this will be making the headlines very soon…

In conclusion, I would like to recognize the role the UPU and the leadership of the International Bureau in particular, as well as the African Union Commission continues to play in positioning Africa’s postal sector as a strategic player, with a view to helping the latter to tap into the emerging ecommerce business opportunities. I have no doubt, therefore, that the postal family will ultimately live the dream of fostering inclusive social and economic development of Africa, while successfully growingits own business. As the saying goes: “If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable”. On this positive note, Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to conclude my remarks by wishing you a very happy and successful PAPU Day celebration.
Long live Africa!
Long live the African Union!
Long live the Pan African Postal Union!
Long live international cooperation!
Long live the postal sector!

YOUNOUSS DJIBRINE
SECRETARY GENERAL

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