‘Postal services need new ideas’

Source: ‘Postal services need new ideas’ | The Herald

Felex Share Senior Reporter
African Member States should join forces and push for the reform of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a United Nations specialised agency for the postal sector, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said yesterday.

VP Mnangagwa said the anticipated reforms would facilitate effective participation in the activities of the Union by least developed countries and developing countries.

He made the remarks in Harare while opening an extra-ordinary meeting of sadc Ministers responsible for postal and courier services.

The Ministers gathered for the past two days to come up with strategies and a common position ahead of the UPU Congress in Turkey in September, and the Pan-African Postal Union Plenipotentiary Conference slated for Cameroon next month.

“Zimbabwe’s view is that the Union is now at crossroads regarding its future,” VP Mnangagwa said.

“Zimbabwe is convinced that it is no longer a question of whether to reform the Union or not. The UPU draws its strength from its status as an inter-governmental organisation, and the UN treaty framework reinforces its authority and credibility.

“As Government, we are convinced that this needs to be reflected in the governance structure of the Union. I have been informed that the UPU currently operates under a structure that is based on fixed decision-making bodies, coupled with lengthy four-year Congress cycles. However, the recent changes in the economic, political and technological climate affecting the postal services sector are, in themselves, adequate reasons for the call to reform the Union now rather than later”, he said.

He said as always, sadc should find consensus and act as a block at the Turkey Congress to achieve the reforms.

VP Mnangagwa said the postal services sector was under threat from cheaper and efficient means of communication and needed new ideas to survive.

“The survival of future postal services will depend largely on how they are able to adapt to changes in the communications sector,” he said.

“Some postal administrations have already embarked on a reform and restructuring process, making them more independent and self-financing commercial enterprises. Many have also entered the electronic realm, embracing new technologies to improve products and services.”

He added: “The main challenge for postal services is to find ways to effectively counteract the substitution of physical mail by electronic communication while at the same time taking advantage of the new technologies to expand. This is where the Universal Postal Union’s Vision 2020 that speaks to innovation, integration and inclusion comes in handy. Going forward, these three words should be the buzz words in the global postal sector.”

Information communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, said new ideas were needed to make use of post offices which were primarily for the movement of mail.

”If you look at Zimbabwe’s postal services, we have more than 236 post offices around the country,” he said.

“Most of these were responsible for the movement of mail. We all know that the business of letters is almost dead and what remains is e-communication. The challenges that we are facing are to sustain the very big infrastructure that has been built for the letters at a time the letters business has drastically gone down.

“There is a lot of opportunity to convert that minus into a positive and make sure we convert those offices into communication information centres for various communities by putting in computers and Internet connection. You can also have training programmes for communities to come and learn computers, business people come and access information while students come and learn. Beyond that, post offices are a key enabler in terms of money transfers. Most of the mobile money transfer services are done through post offices”, said Minister Mandiwanzira.


  • comment-avatar
    R Judd 6 years ago

    What a load of . . . . . .

  • comment-avatar
    william mills 6 years ago

    Does this mean that the postal service has not yet been looted and plundered and therefore must be subject to change in order to provide ‘patronage opportunities’?