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African govts must digitise postal services: Papu



INFORMATION Communication Technologies (ICT) minister and Pan African Postal Union (Papu) chairperson Jenfan Muswere has urged governments on the continent to digitise the postal services sector to enhance its sustainability.

He said this on Tuesday during the Universal Postal Union congress held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and attended by ICT ministers from several African countries.

Muswere said the postal sector played an important role during the COVID-19 lockdowns in delivering drugs, vaccines, foodstuffs and other necessities as there were restrictions on intercity travel.

“Acknowledging the important role played by men and women in the postal sector value chain who braved the challenges of COVID-19 to deliver important health requirements to institutions and citizens of our countries, governments responded by declaring the postal sector as part of the essential services,” Muswere said.

“This allowed the smooth delivery of essential postal services to the citizenry during very trying times. We therefore as governments need to keep supporting the postal sector through its digital transformation phase as its traditional role of last mile delivery of goods is here to stay. Indeed the postal infrastructure can help the government achieve the digitalisation agenda through e-commerce and provision of enhanced postal financial services.”

During the congress, the ministers agreed to establish a quality of service fund to promote use of ICT in less economically developed countries and also allowed remote participation of the member States in the project.

“I am encouraged by the spirit of inclusiveness and consensus that characterised the debates and most of the decisions taken by the congress,” Muswere said.

“The congress decision to allow remote participation and establishment of a quality of service fund for least developed countries are just, but many of the decisions taken by congress which demonstrated the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals underlying principle of ensuring that no one is left behind.

“I am confident that together we can make the Abidjan Postal Strategy and Business Plan a success and ensure that the post continues to play a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of our countries.”

He encouraged Papu member States to expedite implementation of the recommendations of the congress to stimulate growth of postal and courier services. This, he said, would enhance quality customer service globally.

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