“Ecom@Africa can unite national governments with postal operators and create an e-commerce ecosystem,” the Director General of the Universal Postal Union Bishar A. Hussein told an audience in Antananarivo, Madagascar on 26 July 2018.
In a keynote speech given at the Fifth Extraordinary Session of the Pan African Postal Union, Mr. Hussein called the UPU project a key enabler of e-commerce, which allows African citizens and businesses to participate in national, regional, and global economies.
On the need for greater creativity in the global postal sector, the UPU head delivered a plea to the high-level audience, including the President of Madagascar Hery Rajaonarimampianina, “We must continuously innovate and improve our products and services to remain competitive in the market, and the UPU will work with the Posts to facilitate capacity building in different fields.”
Mr. Hussein also acknowledged that the postal sector was rapidly changing and it faced calls for the sector to transform and to become more modernized, diversified, competitive, and responsive to customer needs. The UPU head noted that the post sector recognized it was no longer business as usual. He added, “The success of the sector lies in seizing opportunities offered by evolving market realities, growing e-commerce, big data, and financial services.”
After speaking, the UPU Director General met with President Rajaonarimampianina for a wide-ranging discussion on postal matters and other related issues. He also met with the Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Digital Development of Madagascar Jean de Dieu Maharante.
Launched in 2016, the Ecom@Africa project is undergoing trials in Tunisia, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Cameroon, and Côte d'Ivoire before a possible roll out across Africa.
Although currently focused on this region, the project could easily be replicated elsewhere and offered to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and marginalized populations, such as women and young people. At present, around two billion people globally have no access to financial services.