BY SAMSON MBII,NAIROBI,8TH MAY 2017-The vast postal network offers a platform for deepening financial inclusion in Africa, Information, Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru has said.
Addressing delegates attending the 36th Ordinary Session of the Pan African Postal Union Administrative Council at a Nairobi hotel, Mr. Mucheru said the Posts are better positioned in banking women, the poor, the less educated and those in the informal economy, who tend to be disadvantaged by other financial institutions.
‘‘Postal networks should be an integral part of discussions in which governments, policy makers and international organizations design strategies for fostering financial inclusion,’’ said Mr. Mucheru.
A GSMA report of February 2016 shows that at the end of 2015, there were almost five times more postal accounts than mobile money accounts, which at the time stood at 411 million worldwide. However, mobile money accounts are growing exponentially when compared with postal accounts.
The Cabinet Secretary also called for increased adoption of e-commerce on the continent, which he said now holds the key to the region’s socio-economic transformation.
He however lamented that Africa’s contribution to the global e-commerce statistics was just below two per cent in 2015, and called on African states to put in place necessary interventions to foster the growth of e-commerce.
Africa is set to benefit from the Universal Postal Union (UPU)’s project targeted at transforming the Post and e-commerce in the region. The Regional Development Plan for Africa has identified e-commerce and financial services as the potential areas of growth for post.
‘‘We have noted that Africa is lagging behind in e-commerce business facilitation globally. We wanted to strengthen this link in the UPU e-commerce supply chain and provide an opportunity for the continent to join the rest of the world in this fast growing trade,’’ said UPU Director General Amb. Bishar Hussein.
The Ecom@Africa project which seeks to create a continental-wide postal e-market zone will be initially be rolled out in Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco and Tunisia with other countries set to join it later.
PAPU Secretary General Mr.Younous Djibrine said in actualizing the Ecom@Africa initiative, the Union has already embarked on the implementation of virtual platforms for e-commerce as well as smart storage and distribution systems in each of the five regions across Africa.