Fortune News | Jul 13,2020
May 25 , 2019
By Haben Mehari ( Haben Mehari is an entrepreneur and a postgraduate student at Addis Abeba University. He can be reached at email@example.com. )
The Ethiopian Postal Service Enterprise, established on March 9, 1894, by Emperor Menelik II, is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
It has come a long way from the days when correspondence was conducted through messengers known as ‘melektegnas’, who travelled great distances on foot while carrying letters over their heads on cleft sticks. The Ethiopian postal service now has 1,200 postal offices and over 170,000 post office boxes all across the country.
The explosive increase of internet usage and the move of communications to digital platforms has upended the traditional core business of mail delivery. The industry has been in decline all around the world.
Nonetheless, there is lately a resurgence. The internet is finally making post offices more relevant as people are shopping online using e-commerce websites and need someone to deliver these packages to them. Rather than falling into obsolescence, mail carriers stand to prosper if they can adapt quickly to meet the demands of this rapidly growing and evolving market.
The impact of e-commerce on the postal industry has been apparent as business-to-customer and business-to-business parcelsshipping has dramatically increased in volume in recent years and it is a trend that is expected to continue. Most postal delivery companies now believe that parcels will be the most important factor for success over the next five years.
Here, postal services around the world have been given a second chance to stay relevant by becoming an essential link in the global e-commerce supply chain. They are becoming a necessary intermediary between e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba or even local online retailers and their customers across shipping and returns.
Post offices have the largest accessible network for customers in each country, and to capitalise on their advantages post offices will need to adapt and cooperate as never before. But it seems that only a handful of postal service companies are responding to the challenges. In Europe, some government postal agencies have been partially privatised to encourage them to become more efficient while others have created products and services specifically tailored to the needs of e-commerce.
With all these developments across the world, the Ethiopian Postal Service is moving in an alternative direction and is engaging in services that are outside of its core business just to stay afloat. These activities include SIM and voucher cards, wholesale and retail, financial services and advertisement services through post boxes.
African countries are lagging behind most of the world in e-commerce and out of the 151 countries assessed, Ethiopia ranks 141st in this index, according to UNCTAD's Business-to-Consumer E-commerce Index. The key areas of consideration in this index include the share of individuals using the internet, the share of individuals with accounts and secure internet servers and a postal reliability score. The irony is the South African Post office, the third best in this index, has 800 branches compared to Ethiopia’s 1200.
Just as mobile phones helped us leapfrog the need to string up landlines, e-commerce has the potential to reduce the build-out of physical retail infrastructure, lowering costs for Ethiopian customers and making us competitive in the global market for our products. This will require investment in IT and physical infrastructure, improved partnerships and coordination between post offices and shippers worldwide and standardised customs, payment and delivery processes.
In major cities such as Addis Abeba that have implemented street addresses, by collaborating with tech startups, these can be easily mapped, making parcel deliveries quick and efficient. With the rise of financial technologies, paying for our items is becoming easier and easier.
The future is e-commerce, the Ethiopian Postal Service needs to realise it and leverage its resources to make itself great again.
PUBLISHED ON May 25,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 995]
Fortune News | Jul 13,2020
Viewpoints | Sep 11,2020
Commentaries | Nov 21,2018
Fortune News | May 15,2021
Radar | Apr 25,2020
Fortune News | Dec 21,2019
My Opinion | Nov 29,2020
Viewpoints | Oct 03,2020
Radar | Sep 03,2022
Radar | Dec 19,2018
Photo Gallery | 69126 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 60981 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fortune News | 52914 Views | Jul 18,2020
Fortune News | 52688 Views | Sep 01,2021
Commentaries | May 27,2023
Life Matters | May 27,2023
My Opinion | May 27,2023
Sunday with Eden | May 27,2023
Agenda | May 27,2023
Editorial | May 27,2023
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
Recent headlines seem to augur a global debt crisis. The United States is teetering on the precipice of a self-inflicted default. Egypt,...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
May 27 , 2023
Tauted as a somnolent giant, Ethiopia's financial scene now stirs, roused by favourab...
May 20 , 2023
The pungent irony wafting from Pretoria last week was hard to miss. Cyril Ramaphosa,...
May 13 , 2023
In March this year, Kamala Harris, the United States Vice President, visited Ghana, T...
May 6 , 2023
The history of the Ethiopian labour movement dates back to the 1940s, marked by perio...
May 27 , 2023
In a triumph over the trials of the pandemic, a rising tide of construction costs and inflation, Zemen Bank has opened a stunning 32-storey...
May 27 , 2023 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
Meqelle is in an animated bid to reclaim control of the management of companies under the Endowment Fund...
May 29 , 2023
Officials at the Addis Abeba City Administration have recently changed the title transfer fees following...
May 27 , 2023 . By MUNIR SHEMSU
The absence of technological equipment to control the contraband trade near national borders and low-qual...
Or see contact page