The Universal Postal Union (UPU), a specialized organization of the United Nations system, was created in 1874. Its headquarters are in Bern, Switzerland. It sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate the growth of letter post, parcel and financial services volumes and improve the quality of service offered to customers.
The Congress is the supreme organ of this Union, which meets every four (4) years. The Plenipotentiaries of the 192 member countries meet to decide on the new world postal strategy and set the rules for international mail exchanges.
The 27th Congress is being held at a time when the UPU is at a crossroads, in response to the rapidly changing political, economic and technological environment of the postal sector.
The stakes are high and we must lay the foundations for a sustainable future for our Organization during this Congress.
The analysis of the postal sector shows that the rapidly changing needs for regional integration of governments, expansion of business markets and convenience for individuals make it necessary to consider the postal market not at the level of a country, but rather at least at the level of a region.
National postal actors will, therefore, have to develop strategic alliances enabling them to offer e-merchant services combining export assistance, delivery, payment and targeting a wider market.
It is becoming increasingly obvious to consider opening up the sector and developing interaction between the different stakeholders.
All factors in the development of the postal sector (political, economic, social, technological and legal) contribute to a transformation in the relationship between companies and end customers that must be taken into account.
The regional strategic forums recently organized by the UPU International Bureau in the various geographical regions of the Union have revealed global economic trends that will shape the World Postal Strategy in Abidjan.
Risks have been identified, particularly related to political uncertainties and economic tensions on the international scene.
The fragility of multilateralism and international cooperation also poses a serious threat to the very foundation of the Union.
The postal sector faces challenges, but opportunities exist, including the vitality of the network, international trade, and cross-border trade.
The “digitization” of procedures and the products and services offered by postal operators has changed the boundaries of the traditional postal sector and e-commerce is growing dramatically in this respect.
However, it can be seen that a large proportion of the population in some regions of the world, including Africa in particular, does not have sufficient access to postal services. Significant investments should help to change this situation.
The Istanbul Postal Strategy 2016 laid the foundations for transforming the postal sector so that it remains at the heart of the global economy, through three pillars: innovation, integration, and inclusion.
One of the main objectives of the Abidjan 2020 Postal Congress is to set up, within the Union, the necessary bodies to complete the transformation of our Organisation.
The Abidjan World Postal Strategy (APS) will, therefore, constitute the roadmap in which each of the main actors in the postal sector will have a role to play.
The 27th Congress should also be an opportunity for reflection and action to strengthen the UPU’s resilience.
Important issues such as the risks faced by the Union in the event of withdrawal from a Member State, the means of sustainable financing of the Union, and the degree and pace of openness of the Union, must be addressed.
The member countries of the Union recently decided to hold an Extraordinary Congress to decide on a possible revision of the remuneration for small packages before the end of the current Congress cycle (2017-2020).
May this Third Extraordinary Congress in Geneva, scheduled for September 2019, have resolved this issue, taking into account the need for the equity of the system and the safeguarding of multilateralism that characterizes our organization.
These are, among other things, some of the challenges of this great event that I wanted to share with you. The challenge is significant and requires us to be mobilized to face it in the spirit of understanding and solidarity that has always characterized us.
Abidjan is, therefore, ready to offer this framework that will make it possible to reflect on these issues and outline this post of the future that must be at the service of the citizen.
AKWABA (Welcome) to Abidjan.