International mail services resume in Somalia

After 23 years without postal services, Somalia will start receiving international mail again from 1 November 2013, thanks to an agreement concluded with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its postal operator, Emirates Post.

The Universal Postal Union has informed the Posts of its member countries they can now send international mail to Somalia through Dubai. The agreement, reached following initial discussions last April, covers the forwarding and processing of inbound and outbound letter post until 31 December 2014. Emirates Post will forward mail for Somalia to this country’s office of international mail exchange in Mogadishu using airlines flying into the Somali capital. It will also process the terminal dues – fees countries pay for processing each other’s incoming mail – accruing to the designated operator of this Horn of Africa country. The two operators will later look at extending the collaboration to other services. “This is very huge for our entire country,” said Abdullahi E. Hersi, Somali minister of information, posts, telecommunication and transports. “The resumption of this service symbolizes a new beginning for Somali postal communication, and people here are very, very happy to see that. People remember what postal services used to be, and they appreciate them coming back.” “I believe we will gain the public’s trust as people see their government working towards development and progress, and it will help us gain momentum,” added the minister. For his part, Fahad Alhosani, acting president of Emirates Post Group, said: “We are convinced this agreement will open new horizons for the postal service of Somalia. The opening of the postal market in Somalia is a positive step forward, and we will aspire, after one year of activity, to extend the service to parcels and other products.” Historic moment UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein was enthusiastic at the news of postal services returning to Somalia. “This is a historic moment for the Somali people and members of its diaspora worldwide,” he said. “The resumption of postal services in a country that has experienced so much conflict is a critical step in rebuilding a nation, its identity and its pride. The UPU will provide all possible technical assistance to Somalia to help it develop its postal services.” The UPU, which facilitated the talks between the parties, hopes to soon deliver some basic mail processing equipment to the Somali Post, including tables, postal bags, postal boxes and delivery tricycles. The postal network needs to be completely rebuilt in a country covering more than 637,000 square kilometers and with a population of 9.9 million people. In 1991, Somalia had some 100 post offices and a postal staff of 2,165. Today, there is one general post office in the capital and some 25 staff.