The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications last week joined other member countries in the observance of the anniversary of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), with assurance from Secretary General Younouss Djibrine of the organization's support to member countries efforts being manifested.
This year's anniversary was observed on the Theme "GROWING POSTAL REVENUES IN A DIGITAL ECONOMY."
SG Djibrine assured member countries of PAPU's incessant support towards efforts being intensified by respective governments to sensitizing postal sector stakeholders and the public at large, on the strides being made to continuously transform postal services in a rapidly changing business environment.
He emphasized that the postal fraternity in Africa stands solidly behind respective governments to ensure that all member countries benefit from exchange of ideas and experience required for whatever the market share and whatever the level of development of the sector they command.
He further said the General Secretariat of PAPU remains focused on spotlighting opportunities that are available to member countries and which may present lessons and high-level policy directions that member countries need to create value for their stakeholders through benchmarking and sensitization, particularly on emerging trends and innovative business models in an increasingly digital environment.
He said "There is no better time than this, and no better occasion than the PAPU Day to carry out this important responsibility when members who are part and parcel of the global postal fraternity, successfully participated in the just concluded Doha UPU Congress."
He also reflected on Plenipotentiary Conference held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July 2012, where far-reaching strategic decisions were made on the state of postal services globally and regionally, and what needs to be done going forward.
"This year's theme, therefore, could not have come at a better time. Today, we are hopeful that things will get better for postal services despite the many challenges we face as a result of competition and the slow pace of reform," he said.
"The Post's widespread interlinked network of 660,000 post offices worldwide, of which over 30,000 are in Africa, gives the sector a distinctive advantage as a catalyst for socio-economic development, in terms of employment opportunities, an all-inclusive information society and stimulation of trade through e-commerce, particularly among the youth, majority if whom reside in rural areas."
The Secretary General used the occasion to discount the misconception that ICTs are a threat to the postal sector.
A press statement issued by the Postal Affairs Ministry at the weekend quoted officials as saying "Whereas it is true that new technological innovations have led to a decline in traditional mail volumes, it is also true that they have given the Post an opportunity to re-event itself in order to remain relevant in the fast changing communications industry, particularly with respect to modernization and diversification of products and services, taking advantage of the vast network of outlets."
"Posts are now providing easy access to e-mails, internet surfing, electronic money transfer, hybrid mail, and settlement of utility bills, telemedicine, e-learning and e-government, among all the other Es."
Liberia is among six West African countries, including Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger Republic, the Gambia and Burkina Faso that were recommended by the West African Postal Conference (WAPCO), a sub-regional body, during a conference held in Ivory Coast, where Postmaster General Dr. Frederick B. Norkeh represented the Government of Liberia at the Ministerial Conference of WAPCO, while the Director General of Posts, Mr. Paul Thomas, participated in the Technical Session of the Conference. As a result of this recommendation, Liberia was elected at the 2012 PAPU Plenipotentiary Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), a specialized agency of the African Union (AU) was born in 1980 following the decision of the Plenipotentiary Conference of 35 OAU member countries during a meeting held from the 8th to 18th January 1980 in Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania.
The purpose of forming the Union was to spearhead the development of postal services in Africa.
Currently the Liberia Post has added to its postal products the provision of Western Union and Moneygram Services at its Main General Post Office situated at the corner of Carey and McDonalds Streets as well as its Randall Street Postal Annex opposite LBDI. Plans are the on the way to expand these services in rural Liberia in support of the policy of reducing poverty and creating access to remittance services to all.