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Seychelles hosts 2024 Sids Postal Forum   |06 March 2024

Seychelles hosts 2024 Sids Postal Forum   

Delegates and guests in a souvenir photograph

Seychelles is hosting the 2024 Sids Postal Forum at the Savoy Resort and Spa, Beau Vallon, organised by the Seychelles Postal Services (SPS) in partnership with the Universal Postal Union (UPU).

It was the Minister for Finance, National Planning & Trade, Naadir Hassan, who opened the forum under the theme ‘Postal Digitalisation, Integration and Innovation: Sustainable Growth Boosters for Sids.’

The event brings together SIDS’ leaders and experts from the postal sector, and prominent e-commerce businesses. It is an opportunity for them to debate, discuss, learn and share experiences and knowledge as postal operators.

Also in attendance were the deputy director general of the UPU, Marjan Osvald; secretary general of the African Telecommunications Union, John Odira Omo; Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the Swiss Confederation, Pablo Aramis Valentin; and the SPS’ chief executive Mariella Buisson.

The core theme of the forum revolves around pursuing goals centered on digitalisation and technology, promotion of business sustainability, creating social impact and developing disaster resilience, all the while addressing the specific constraints that hinder postal development in small island developing states (Sids).

These constraints include limited financial and human resource capacity, insufficient knowledge and skills, high costs, and the persistent digital divide.

Presentations and discussions at the forum delved into strategies and solutions to overcome these challenges and drive progress in the postal sector of Sids.

Additionally, by leveraging digitalisation and technology, the forum seeks to empower Sids Posts and enable them to overcome their unique obstacles.

In his address, Minister Hassan said that Seychelles was indeed honoured to have been selected as the host country for the first time, to mark this very important milestone.

He noted that the forum is to simply enable the postal service to keep its status as one of the oldest and largest physical networks in the world, reaching over 5 billion people in more than 190 countries.

“We have all seen and experience how digital trade has become more important, given its ability to sustain economic activity, online buying and selling. We have all recorded the increase in such transactions, thus signalling a permanent change in habits. It is therefore essential that governments in Sids are well-equipped to face this new digital era to avoid the risk of falling further behind,” said the minister.

In her opening remarks, Mrs Buisson said that although (Sids) posts play a vital role in connecting communities, facilitating trade, and enhancing communication within their respective unique island nations, they also face many challenges which limit their ability to be as efficient as their counterparts and competitors.

She noted that operating in isolated regions leads to higher costs for transportation, infrastructure, and logistics, as most Sids are mainly importers, their low outbound volumes attract higher costs.

“While the world embraces digitalisation, Sids struggle with uneven access to technology and internet connectivity. Posts use many systems and rely on constant connectivity to be efficient and any glitches disrupts operations. Let us use these 3 days to recognise the critical role of our Sids posts. What we can do by embracing technology, fostering collaboration, and prioritising resilience. We can empower ourselves to thrive and serve our communities effectively,” she stated.

For her part, Mihret Woodmatas from the African Union Commission, said that given the disruption by digital transformation in every sector is unavoidable with the advancement of emerging technologies, going digital is no longer an option but a necessity for survival and remaining relevant and competent in the digital world.

She noted that the trust and the strong existing network and tools that have been accumulated over the centuries, hold a competitive advantage for the future to succeed and flourish in the current and emerging businesses.  

“Thanks to the leadership of the UPU for coordinating successfully the challenging and demanding task of creating harmonisation across the globe and striving to ensure that all postal services are connected and have access to the latest tools and technologies to support their transformation,” Mrs Woodmatas said.

Mr Osvald said that the particular challenges of Sids, namely, their limited integration in global value chains and heightened vulnerability to climate change and induced disasters, call for global action to identify ways to overcome these challenges and the hanging uncertain future.

“Digitalisation, innovation and use of new technologies have been identified as key equalisers in countries’ achievement of sustainable socio-economic development. I believe this forum will help you better address the unique obstacles that the posts in your respective countries face every day,” he stated.

The forum will end on Thursday.

In Seychelles, the post was established in 1861, as part of Mauritius Post.


Patrick Joubert/press release Seychelles Postal Services

Photos by Patrick Joubert

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