News and Statements
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THE 24TH UPU CONGRESS GENEVA
Statement by the Hon. Musalia Mudavadi, EGH, MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for local Government of the Republic of Kenya,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to have this opportunity to address you on this auspicious occasion of the opening ceremony of the 24th Universal Postal Union (UPU) Congress. On behalf of the President, the Prime Minister and the people of the Republic of Kenya, I bring to you happy felicitations and best wishes as you embark on the agenda and debates that will shape the direction and growth of the postal business in the coming four-year cycle.
Excellencies, this opening ceremony is very dear to the people of Kenya and Africa at large. They had looked forward with great anticipation and enthusiasm to the unveiling of the 24th UPU Congress in Nairobi in August this year. Substantial resources and elaborate preparatory activities were undertaken to realize what could have been a memorable Nairobi UPU Congress. But that was before their dreams were interrupted by the unfortunate events in the post-election period.
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to reassure the international community that the people of Kenya have now put the sad events of January and February this year behind them in a true spirit of reconciliation, patriotism and tolerance. Their desire is to move on and forge ahead in building their nation under the framework of the grand coalition government that was initiated with help from the African Union and negotiated by our dear friend and brother, the former UN Secretary General, His Excellency Kofi Annan.
At this juncture, I also want to extend our deep gratitude and appreciation to the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon and the international community for the support during this trying time for our country.
Despite the setback, I would like to thank the UPU fraternity for bestowing on Kenya the honour and privilege of chairing the 24th UPU Congress in Geneva. I have noted with satisfaction that besides according us the opportunity to chair this forum as well as the future Council of Administration, the international postal community has decided to retain the name of the strategy document for this Congress as Nairobi Postal Strategy, the roadmap for the development of the global postal sector in the next four years.
Just as we in Kenya are enthusiastic about this important responsibility, so is the continent of Africa. Our friends and colleagues from African postal administrations went an extra mile to support the organization of the 24th UPU Congress on African soil under the auspices of the African Support Group chaired by South Africa. I wish to take this opportunity to express my profound appreciation to them for their tireless efforts to see an African Congress succeed.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, as you are aware the postal sector plays a critical role as an essential component of the global economy. The concept of the single postal territory is as relevant today as it was at the inception of the UPU over 130 years ago. The international postal network has witnessed phenomenal growth over the period with almost 700,000 outlets and nearly six million employees who handle over 430 billion letter post items per year. While this is a positive development for the sector, huge gaps exist in quality of service standards, adoption of new technologies and postal reforms between Developing and the Developed countries.
Excellencies, the postal administrations of developing countries face enormous challenges in their efforts towards modernization and improvement of their postal products and services.
We can never achieve a truly universal single postal territory as envisaged by the founding fathers of this union, without strengthening the chain of the postal administrations of the developing countries. The strength of a chain is always determined by its weakest link, so the saying goes. We, therefore, must seek ways and means to advance more resources and technical support for developing countries in order for them to adopt reforms and remain viable.
The litmus test in all these scenarios is customer satisfaction. Consumers of postal services, like other sectors of the economy, have become increasingly critical in defining the features and the scope of the services and products on offer. It is therefore imperative that you come up with innovative and appropriate initiatives and strategies to ensure that the post takes its rightful role in market leadership.
In Kenya, we have made significant progress in the area of postal reforms. Since 1999, the Kenyan communications market is regulated by an independent regulator. The Postal Corporation of Kenya Act of 1998 gives the public postal operator financial and administrative autonomy. This gives the entity a free hand in matters of budgets, investments, and service improvement programmes. In addition, the newly introduced public sector performance contracting system has gone a long way in improving the management of public entities and delivery of services in the country.
Your Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, as you ponder the most common challenges of the industry, spare a thought for the new ones. I have in mind the challenges of global climate change and the associated degradation of the environment. The UPU has a role to play in worldwide efforts to reduce pollution and facilitating mother-nature to regenerate and support life. In the same vein, better-endowed members of the Union need to look into practical ways of assisting their fellow members who have just emerged from debilitating civil strife, natural calamities and years of economic stagnation. Your timely intervention will be a step in the right direction in many ways, including strengthening the global postal network.
In conclusion, I wish to once again thank the UPU fraternity for inviting me to this distinguished event and for the opportunity accorded to Kenya, and by extension Africa, in the management of this Congress.
I wish you successful deliberations.
I thank you for your attention.