Kenya eyes second term at UN postal union

Monday March 7 2016

UPU Director General, Mr Bishar Hussein. PHOTO

UPU Director General, Mr Bishar Hussein. PHOTO | LILIAN OCHIENG 

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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Kenya has kicked off campaign for the top seat of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the United Nations specialised agency for postal and courier sector.

Kenya’s ambassador Bishar Hussein has held the position of ‘UPU Director General’ for the past four years and is vying for the second term in elections set for September this year.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed last Friday led the Kenyan delegation in hosting diplomats from across the world in the Swiss city of Geneva to lobby for support for Kenya’s candidate.

‘‘Within a span of three and a half years, Ambassador Hussein and his team have made remarkable progress in attaining virtually all the milestones of the Doha Postal Strategy, as well as the Doha Congress decisions and resolutions,’’ noted Ms Amina.

In his tenure, Mr Hussein is touted to have pushed for international postal regulations that favour Kenyan postal and courier services space and Africa at large. He took over office at a time when the Postal and Courier services were being pushed out of market owing to the fast Internet revolution.

Through constant research across successful world postal markets, Mr Hussein set up a structured chain that saw the local postal and courier market begin to blossom through fresh regulations.

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Among changes brought into play recently with the help of the UPU are; New CA regulations effected July 1, compelling new postal and courier services applying for licenses to adhere to conditions such as using Postal Corporation of Kenya’s vast national networks to interconnect areas the couriers have no presence.

CA data from January-March last year shows a sharp decline in the number of letters sent locally.

‘The number of letters sent locally declined marginally by 0.3 per cent to reach 16.73 million during the quarter (January to March 2015) down from 16.78 million letters sent during the preceding quarter,” said CA.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said the elections come at a time when Mr Hussein through the UPU is continuously re-invigorating the postal sector to take advantage of emerging technologies.

‘‘The current leadership of the UPU has scaled up its stakeholder management for better coordination between postal utilities, custom administrations, airlines, law enforcement agencies and relevant international organizations,’’ said Mr Mucheru in a statement.

Mr Hussein was elected to the position in 2012, becoming the first ever African to head the UPU since its establishment 1874. Prior to his election, he had chaired the UPU Council of Administration between 2008-2012.

Mr Hussein has over 20 years’ experience in the sector having risen through the ranks to Postmaster General of the Postal Corporation of Kenya. He has also served as Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.