In the framework of a new agreement focused on inclusive financial solutions and the digital transformation of the Post, the UPU and Mastercard kicked off a series of executive roundtables to leverage the combined expertise of the industry’s leadership.The first roundtable, “Enabling and Evolving the Postal Ecosystem,” sought to explore the role that the Post plays in fostering trade, financial, social, and digital inclusion, leveraging its unique universal service and proximity capabilities as well as actual and potential performance.
“The digital transformation of the postal network started years ago, but the pandemic has further triggered the modernization of our business model. It is really an important moment for the postal sector,” said Mr. Pascal Clivaz, the Deputy Director General of the Universal Postal Union, at the event opening on 7 July 2021. Mr. Clivaz emphasized the importance of building solid partnerships and integrating the know-how of key industry players like Mastercard in order to remain relevant and meet the evolving customer needs. According to Mr. Clivaz, opening up of the postal sector, which will be in focus during the 27th Universal Postal Congress in August 2021, would allow the UPU to reach its strategic objectives of sustainable development, populations’ welfare and the postal economic model growth.
Apart from inclusive approaches within the sector, the challenges of digital and financial inclusion on a wider scale have been highlighted. Mr. Mike Froman, Vice Chairman and President, Strategic Growth at Mastercard, who shared the floor with Mr. Clivaz at the opening fireside chat, said: “Reaching rural and remote communities is our shared priority. Posts are capable to deliver the last-mile service – the most difficult one in times of crises. We are here to ensure that this is complemented by basic financial services”.
The productive discussion has benefited from the insights of senior executives and experts from the UPU, Mastercard, postal operators from Europe, Latin America and Africa, business, and academia. Reflecting on the challenges presented by digital transformation, Mr. Siva Somasundram, UPU’s Director for Policy, Regulations and Markets, stressed the need to replicate the trust enjoyed by the Post in the physical world into the digital sector. On the opportunity side, Mr. Paul Donohoe, UPU’s Digital Economy and Trade Programme Manager, added “in a digital age, the right combination of technology and partnerships can advance growth for the whole sector”.
Mr. Sifundo Chief Moyo, PostMaster General of Zimbabwe Post, leading the transformation of Zimpost to be a digitalized entity, spoke of the essential role partnerships with the government and private sector played in implementing projects such as community information centres and e-commerce platforms for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Mr Jorge Solano, CEO of Correos de Costa Rica, and leader of the company's digital transformation process over several years, shared the key actions undertaken to enhance skills, structures, and strategies to digitally enable and diversify Costa Rican postal services. During these difficult times of pandemic, a key result has been an increase in e-commerce inclusion for SMEs and consumers outside the urban areas of Costa Rica.
In the coming months, this inaugural event will be followed by two more virtual roundtables that will look into concrete case studies, success factors, and key enablers for preparing future-proof operating models for the Post in the digital economy. The event series is open to attendance for postal operators, postal industry actors and partners, and other interested stakeholders.
Mastercard Worldwide operates one of the world’s leading payment processing networks, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments, and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. The purpose of the new strategic cooperation between the UPU and Mastercard, which are both partners within the eTrade for All initiative of the United Nations, is to enhance the postal networks capability to support the e-commerce payment environment and to promote innovative and inclusive electronic payment solutions via the Post across the globe.