Africa Moyo in VICTORIA FALLS
President Mnangagwa has called on African countries to remain united for the achievement of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 while also encouraging the postal sector to continue embracing latest technologies to boost its operations.
He said this here yesterday while officially opening the 10th session of the Pan-African Union (PAPU) Plenipotentiary Conference and the 39th ordinary session of the Administrative Council.
The President also launched the PAPU Plenipotentiary Commemorative Stamps, which are symbolic of Zimbabwe’s delight and honour for having hosted the PAPU meeting.
He said the stamps must serve as a reminder of the beauty and uniqueness of motherland.
The President said PAPU, like other specialised agencies of the African Union, has an inherent obligation to advance and propel the founding vision of a united, peaceful, developed and integrated Africa.
“Furthermore, the onus is on all the agencies of the African Union to be a catalyst to the realisation of Agenda 2063 and the building of an Africa we all want,” said President Mnangagwa.
“More so, as you reflect upon and redefine the trajectory of the Agency in the context of the ever-changing and emerging realities.
“As an important organ of our esteemed continental body, the Pan-African Postal Union should play a developmental role in uplifting the standard of living of our people in line with the aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.”
He challenged PAPU to support governments on the continent to bridge the digital divide, to enable citizens to have access to basic communication in tandem with Africa’s quest to create knowledge economies and innovation-driven development.
But the President warned that the adoption of new technologies comes with attendant risks, and implored PAPU, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders, to ensure the technological space remained safe from cyber criminals, user friendly, affordable and efficient for all.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides the postal sector a renewed lease of life through the opportunities for distribution logistics in support of free trade and other cross border activities.
President Mnangagwa implored PAPU members to pursue the fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through the effective utilisation of their diverse presence and networks for the upliftment of humankind.
The conference came against the backdrop of a new normal brought about by Covid-19.
This has brought to the fore the critical role played by the postal sector, with postmen and postwomen across the world now constituting frontline workers as they deliver medicines, medical prescriptions, food, cash and other needs to citizens affected by the pandemic.
President Mnangagwa said the self-less acts by postal sector employees reminds the rest of citizens of the essential and indispensable role of the sector.
“The Covid-19 pandemic provides delegates at this Plenipotentiary Conference an opportunity to reflect and pursue hitherto uncharted terrains with regards to how best the postal sector can embrace the new normal.
“This includes the use of new technologies such as drones for deliveries, block chain technology for secure transactions, digital financial services and Track and Trace applications, among others.
“ICT developments must, thus, be leveraged to enable citizens on the continent to receive services without being physically inclined to visit service centres,” he said.
The President also urged the sector to continue diversifying into a broad range of new services to enhance and increase the competitiveness of the letter and parcel delivery business.
The postal sector has been implored to facilitate the provision of government services on electronic platforms such as e-government services for the convenience and delivery of quality services to citizens.
President Mnangagwa said with the growth of e-commerce, scope exists for the provision of cost-effective channels for the delivery and collection of purchased items as consumers become increasingly comfortable with shopping online.
Traditionally, the postal sector had long provided a range of services and information largely to marginalised communities with limited access to modern ICT-based services.
Going forward, President Mnangagwa said Africa is at a stage requiring its “sons and daughters” to serve humanity with unflinching loyalty and vigour for the benefit of citizens.
“The selection of new leadership of agencies of the African Union, including this Pan-African Postal Union, must thus be understood within the framework of renewal and servant-hood.
“We cannot all serve in leadership positions at the same time. It is a relay where the baton is passed-on to the next group of persons, for the collective good of our continent.
“There are no winners or losers, it is Africa which wins,” he said, adding that the 10th Session of the PAPU Plenipotentiary Conference should be a reminder that “united we stand and divided we stand”.
As the continent looks forward to holding the Universal Postal Union congress in August in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the President said this would be a momentous and long overdue occasion considering that Africa last held it in Egypt in 1934.
He added that when in Ivory Coast, Africans should demonstrate they are one people and one indivisible continent.
President Mnangagwa called on Africans to continue maintaining social distance, masking up, avoiding handshakes and sanitising, among others, to fight Covid-19 which has tormented the continent.
“Weeping may last but for a season, joy will surely come yet again upon our continent, in due season,” he said.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Minister of State for Matabeleland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Richard Moyo, ICT, Courier and Postal Services Minister and chairman of the PAPU Plenipotentiary chairman Dr Jenfan Muswere, Minister of State for National Security Owen Ncube, UPU director general Ambassador Bishar Hussein and PAPU secretary general Mr Younouss Djibrine, attended the conference.
A number of other countries outside Africa including the US, Belgium, Ukraine, Japan and Thailand, attended either physically or virtually.