‘Africa must win as a whole’

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THE Pan African values of unity, solidarity and common purpose must inspire Africa to advance continental integration and consolidate its independence towards realisation of shared development and prosperity, President Mnangagwa said on Friday.

In line with Africa’s Agenda 2063, a blueprint and master plan for transforming the continent into the global powerhouse of the future, the President said enhancing regional integration was instrumental in capacitating Africa to meet the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Officially opening the 39th Ordinary Session of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) Administrative Council and 10th Ordinary Session of the elective Plenipotentiary Conference here, he said the principles of Pan Africanism, as embodied in the African Union Charter, were indispensable if the continent was to realise an inclusive destiny.

Zimbabwe Post Master General Sifundo Moyo (in scarf) chats to some delegates in Victoria Falls

“At the heart of Pan Africanism lies the values of unity, solidarity and common purpose. These must continue to be enforced as we consolidate the independence of Africa towards realisation of shared development and prosperity for all our people,” said President Mnangagwa.

“We cannot all serve in leadership positions at the same time. It is a relay where the baton is passed on to the next group of persons, for the collective good of our continent.“There are no winners or losers, it is Africa as a whole that wins…united we stand, divided we fall. Together in unity we will conquer,” said President Mnangagwa.

He also appealed to the African Diaspora community to come on board by deploying contemporary strategies across various socio-economic sectors, to promote the continent’s development.

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Despite the disruptive Covid-19 pandemic, Zimbabwe has this year managed to successfully host the PAPU Conference, which was suspended at the height of lockdown in 2020. This demonstrates the resilience and boldness of African people, said the President, who went on to challenge PAPU and other regional agencies, to advance the founding vision of a united, peaceful, developed and integrated Africa.

While the postal and courier services sector has played a critical role in providing a wide range of services and information to marginalised communities with limited access to ICT based services, President Mnangagwa said the everchanging and merging realities demand that the industry transforms its operations in line with modern demands.

“The Covid-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to reflect and pursue hitherto uncharted terrains with regards to how best the postal sector can embrace the new normal.

“This includes the use of new technologies such as drones for deliveries, block chain technology for secure transactions, digital financial services and track and trace applications, among others,” he said.

Diversifying into a broad range of services to enhance increased competitiveness, said President Mnangagwa, was a must for the postal sector, which should further facilitate provision of key Government services using virtual means.

“With the growth of e-commerce, scope exists for the provision of cost-effective channels for the delivery and collection of purchased items, as consumers become increasingly comfortable with shopping online,” he said.

“The challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic require that we hold each other’s hands and fight together in the face of adversity.”

The President said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in particular, gives the postal sector a new lease of life through opportunities for distribution logistics in support for free trade and other cross border activities.

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As the region moves to bridge the digital divide and drives towards creating knowledge economies and innovation development, President Mnangagwa warned delegates against incidents of cybercrime and called for collective efforts in ensuring user safety, affordability and efficiency of service.

He said Zimbabwe was committed to honour its pledge towards construction of the PAPU headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, which will ease the financial burden on the AU in terms of provision of working space and hosting of meetings.

President Mnangagwa’s remarks come at a time when Africa is looking forward to hosting the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Congress later this year in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. This will be a momentous occasion given that Africa last hosted the same convention in 1934, in Egypt.

“As we go to Abidjan, let us demonstrate that we are one people and one indivisible continent,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa also launched the PAPU Plenipotentiary Conference Commemorative Stamps, which are symbolic of the country’s delight for hosting the high-level regional gathering.

Vice President, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, his deputy Cde Dingumuzi Phuthi, Matabeleland North Minister of State and Devolution, Cde Richard Moyo, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, George Charamba, senior government officials and service chiefs also attended the conference.

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