Speech by UPU Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz during the official inauguration of post office of the future, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Speech by UPU Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz during the official inauguration of post office of the future, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Your Excellency the Minister for Digital Economy, Telecommunication and Innovation, Hon. Roger Félix Adom,
His Worship the Mayor of Cocody, Mr.
La Poste Cote d’Ivoire Director General, Mr.
The President of Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny,
Staff of the La Poste Cote d’Ivoire
All invited guests and participants
Ladies and gentlemen,
This is a good moment for me personally and for International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union to participate in this event.
As you may know, I have had a long relationship with La Poste Cote d’Ivoire both as the Deputy Director General of UPU and even earlier as the representative of the Swiss Post.

Through this long relationship, I have seen the great transformation that La Poste Cote d’Ivoire has gone through, and I am very encouraged for the role my organization has played in achievement of this milestone.

La Poste Cote d’Ivoire has been recognized by the UPU as a top player not only in the continent of Africa but also within the membership of the Union. It is for this reason that over 20 years ago, during the 22nd UPU Congress Cote d’Ivoire was chosen to host the 23rd Congress in 2004. Even though due to unfortunate circumstances the country could not host this Congress, in 2015 Cote d’Ivoire was, again, mandated by UPU member countries to become the chair of the Ministerial Strategy Conference that took place in Geneva.
Honourable Minister, it was with great pleasure that members in the 26th Congress in 2016, once again, approved the request of Cote d’Ivoire to host the 27th Congress, originally planned for 2020.

I am glad that despite the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic, that hit the world last year and caused the postponement of the Congress, the government of Cote d’Ivoire has stepped up efforts to ensure its capacity to host this Congress in August. I thank you very much for the good preparations so far.

As the Chairman of the Congress preparations team of UPU, I have worked very closely with the team from Cote d’Ivoire at all levels and I am very happy with the progress made so far. As I had always expected, the Congress at Abidjan will be facilitated at the highest level of efficiency despite the unpredictable situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. My team, some of who are with me here, will continue working very closely with you to ensure we deliver to the members a befitting Congress on the African soil.

Turning to the event of today, Honourable Minister, allow me to congratulate your government and the leadership of La Poste Cote d’Ivoire for this milestone. The launch of the Post Office of the Future today signifies a new direct to revamp our postal institutions to play greater roles in our national economies.

With the advent of the Internet and digital communication in the world, the business of the post was at some point threatened by the loss of some segments such as letters to the new digital alternatives. Indeed, many thought that the business of the post would be substituted by products on this new platform.

At the UPU, we initiated studies to understand the new phenomenon and explore ways that would safeguard the business of the post. Thanks to the innovative initiatives of postal organizations, the digital world has enhanced our business and today we have many products and services that were not possible without the digital invention. Interestingly, these are now the most profitable growth areas for the post.

As we planned for the 27th UPU Congress in Abidjan, we also discussed with the La Poste Cote d’Ivoire the desire to roll out a model post of the future that we would showcase to participants of the event. The UPU, therefore, enhanced collaborated with La Poste Cote d’Ivoire, on a project, La Poste du Future that we had already launched together in 2014 within the Multi-year Integrated Project (MIP) for the 2013-2016 cycle.

The main objectives for this project was to achieve the following:
  1. Reinforce the national postal network in Cote d’Ivoire
  2. Meet market needs and adapt the offer of postal services to new technologies
  3. Build innovative and modern image of the Post in Cote d’Ivoire
  4. Facilitate social inclusion through the three dimensions (physical, financial and digital) of the postal network
I am glad to inform you that within the agreement of this project, the UPU has spent a total of CHF 104’000 for the acquisition of IT equipment required to setup this facility. We have also provided technical expertise to support the government of Cote d’Ivoire on the technical aspects of the project.

In order to fully make the project ready for implementation, the UPU also within the 2017-2020 cycle facilitated the involvement of other partners and institutions working on e-commerce and trade facilitation to create business opportunities for the Post in Cote d’Ivoire.
As we launch this novel facility today, I am encouraged that here we have a model of a modern post office that will promote digital inclusion and the digital economy, and provide modern and innovative postal services, financial services, including money transfers, grant payments, etc. This is in addition to other electronic services like e-commerce, online registrations, etc.

Thanks to the focus of the government of Cote d’Ivoire in August, we shall all be set to showcase to Africa and the rest of the world a real post of the future that carries the aspiration to make the postal business continue playing a key role in national development of our countries. A facility that is in touch with needs and expectations of consumers at all levels.

Your decision to locate this facility at the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny is also very commendable because, as a next generation postal agency, it will offer better-suited services to the needs and expectations of students, the teaching staff and the entire university community. It will also serve as a good innovative business benchmark that can be adopted and replicated even by young and upcoming entrepreneurs.

We all look forward to celebrating this facility with the rest of the global postal community as the landmark project for the Abidjan Congress in August.
Thank you very much for your attention.