African e-Commerce market to reach US$75 billion per year

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful addressing participants of the conference

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful addressing participants of the conference

The Minister of Communication, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has tasked postal services across the West African region to take advantage of emerging technological innovations to engage in e-commerce for improved revenue streams.

She said the inclusion of e-commerce as part of their activities would transform the postal sector which was currently at the crossroads due to evolving digital evolutions.

Citing projections by the Economic Intelligence Unit that the African e-Commerce market would reach between US$50 billion and US$75 billion per year within the next five to 10 years, she said postal services, with its extensive national networks and experience in last mile delivery, could partner and explore the new digital relationship between sellers and consumers to create new revenue streams.

Speaking at the opening of the 2018 West African Postal Conference in Accra on Wednesday, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful emphasised that Post Service must reposition itself to take advantage of its wide distribution across the countries and maximise its role as a front office for government services and wider financial services.

The three- day event is on the theme “Enhancing Regional Integration Through Digitisation; The Role of The Posts”.

It brought together stakeholders in the post service industry from Ghana, Liberia, Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal among others to discuss ways of readjusting operations in line with modern digital innovations.

“One of the most exciting opportunities the digital landscape offers is e Commerce. Africa has leapfrogged the rest of the world to become a mobile first market and as internet penetration increases and consumers become increasingly comfortable with purchasing online, postal services have a unique opportunity to partner in this e Commerce revolution and create new revenue streams,” she stated.

With it post offices in urban cities to rural outposts, the Minister said post services could implement sustainable business delivery models through the provision of financial services including personal loans, credit cards, savings and insurance products to increase revenue.

For this to be a success, she reiterated the need for investment in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), human resource and infrastructure, effective regional integration, enabling policies and regulations to help in effectively surviving the e-Commerce driven landscape.

In the case of Ghana, she said government embarking on infrastructure development programme for the ICT Sector, with a national broadband infrastructure and total connectivity for the unserved and underserved adding that the transformation of Ghana Post into a competitive, regionally integrated, world class, customer focused, ICT enhanced service provider is fundamental to achieving the digital agenda.

With the trend towards liberalisation of the postal market and the increasing digitalisation of postal products, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the conference offers a vital platform for regulators to explore how regulation and policy can support and guide the regional postal digitalisation process.

The Secretary General of Pan African Postal Union, (PAPU) Mr. Jibril Yinus asked the various regional governments to develop guidelines that would create the conducive environment for postal services growth.

 

He said the importance of adopting today’s technological advancement into the operations of the postal services could not be overemphasized saying that digitisation was the way to go if postal services would meet the needs of customers.

 

Dr. Koffi Raphael, Representative of the ECOWAS Commission, called on West African leaders to collaborate in pursuing financial inclusion to formalise economies to accelerate growth and development.

By Claude Nyarko Adams

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