Ambassador Bishar A Hussein, the next UPU director general and former Kenyan postmaster general, discusses his priorities for the global postal sector.
[Article updated 10 October 2012] One of the tasks for delegates at the 25th Congress of the Universal Postal Union in Doha, Qatar, has been to choose a new leadership team for the UPU’s International Bureau.
After eight years in charge, UPU director general Edouard Dayan and deputy director general Guozhong Huang have reached their term limit.
Kenya’s Ambassador Bishar A Hussein was selected as the next UPU director general on 10th October, running against Uruguay’s Dr Serrana Bassini Casco.
Postal and diplomatic experience
A graduate of the University of Nairobi, Ambassador Bishar A. Hussein joined the Kenya Posts & Telecommunications Corporation in 1984 before rising through the ranks. In 1999 as the company became the Postal Corporation of Kenya, he became its first Postmaster General.
From 2002, Hussein served for six years as his country’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, helping strengthen the political and commercial ties between Kenya and the Gulf States.
Hussein tells Post&Parcel that this blend of sound postal knowledge and diplomatic skills are “crucial” for the efficient management of the International Bureau of the UPU.
“I have acquired a wealth of knowledge in my 28 years of postal and diplomatic duties that is suited to the nature of work and the UPU environment,” he says, noting the experience he has had both within Kenya and inside the UPU itself.
Most recently, Hussein has been working within the UPU itself. A past vice-chair of the UPU’s Postal Operations Council, since 2009 he has been chairman of the organisation’s Council of Administration.
He was also chairman of the UPU’s last Congress, four years ago in Geneva, and chaired the UPU’s Strategy Conference in Nairobi in September 2010.
The role of the UPU
Commenting on the work of the UPU itself, Hussein says he believes the organisation needs to enhance the decision-making capabilities of its permanent bodies, to respond to the “fast-changing” communications environment of today.
He says postal operators themselves are fully aware of the operational and technical challenges they face and the measures needed to overcome them, but emphasizes the UPU’s role in bringing together its members to help them develop the right strategies.
“The UPU plays a crucial role in this regard considering it is the point at which all operators big and small are represented at the decision-making point on matters relating to development strategies that aim at making the post the market leader and preferred choice of communication,” says Hussein.
As well as providing the platform for the exchange of information on technological developments, the former Kenya Postmaster General says the UPU could offer professional and technical support to member countries to help enhance the quality of their postal products and services, particularly providing assistance in areas like new technologies.
“Innovation, diversification and adoption of new technologies are crucial to supplement the traditional postal business,” he says, highlighting the need for posts to develop the capacities to respond effectively to the rapidly shifting needs of the market.
A good example is the UPU’s existing work in the field of digital communications, which Hussein says is high on the agenda at the moment for the UPU’s various technical cooperation programmes.
But he says: “There is, however, a need to address the peculiarities in each region so that appropriate and affordable technologies are also available to the small and developing countries to enable them to join the digital platform.”
Ambassador Hussein says the UPU must adopt a “continuous pursuit” of working to improve cross-border channels for ecommerce
With ecommerce perhaps the biggest growth drivers for posts at the moment, Hussein says it is another area where the UPU must look to provide support for its members, encouraging them to take full advantage of the huge shift in consumers towards retail options based on home delivery.
“Internet communication and growth of e-commerce has led to increased postal parcels and express mail traffic worldwide,” he says, and lays out a number of areas where UPU can help:
“UPU champions the improvement of the quality of international mail, Express and Parcel services through automation, pre-shipment advices, continuous monitoring of the national postal networks and the engagement of the various stakeholders like customs, security agencies, civil aviations and airlines.”
The Kenyan candidate says it must be a “continuous pursuit” of UPU to work with organisations within the cross-border chain that are crucial to the success of ecommerce, to harmonize postal operations and regulations at all levels.
Pages: 1 2
Source: James Cartledge, Post&Parcel