IGF 2023 Open Forum #160 The Postal Network: A Vehicle of Digital Inclusion

Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (02:30 UTC) - Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (04:00 UTC)
WS 7 – Room K

Affordable Access
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)

Round Table - 90 Min


The postal sector, with its extensive network of physical points of presence in even the remotest locations, is well-positioned to be an important enabler for an inclusive digital future, by bridging the digital and physical worlds. Post offices can become digital hubs to facilitate access to e-government, digital finance, and e-commerce services, promoting universal and affordable access to digital services, particularly in rural areas and marginalized communities and for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. Moreover, the postal network can enhance the resilience of the digital infrastructure in case of natural or human-made disasters, as well as contribute to the deployment of the digital infrastructure by facilitating the co-location of passive infrastructure in postal facilities. To facilitate the materialization of these opportunities, the UPU launched the CONNECT.POST initiative to connect every post office to the Internet by 2030, in order to promote the meaningful digital inclusion of businesses and citizens in the communities that the post offices serve.

1) Fluent coordination between the online and the onsite moderators 2) Interactive and engaging session with active moderation both online and onsite 3) Use of social media, and interactive tools such as Mentimeter etc.


🔒Universal Postal Union
Juan Moroni, Digital Inclusion and Policy Expert, Universal Postal Union, Intergovernmental Organisation, United Nations (Moderator) Tracy Hackshaw, Chef d'Entreprise, .POST, Universal Postal Union, Intergovernmental Organisation, United Nations (co-Moderator)


Rodney Taylor, Secretary General, Caribbean Telecommunications Union, Intergovernmental Organisation, GRULAC-Barbados

Paul Donohoe, Digital Policies and Trade Coordinator, Universal Postal Union, Asia Pacific-Australia

Talant Sultanov, Co-Founder and Board Member, Internet Society-Kyrgyz Chapter, Asia-Pacific - Kyrgyz Republic

Tracy Hackshaw, Chef d'Entreprise, .POST, Universal Postal Union, GRULAC-Trinidad & Tobago

Juan Moroni, Digital Inclusion and Policy Expert, Universal Postal Union, Intergovernmental Organisation, GRULAC-Argentina (Online)

Onsite Moderator

Tracy Hackshaw, Chef d'Entreprise, .POST, Universal Postal Union, Latin America & Caribbean

Online Moderator

Juan Moroni, Digital Inclusion and Policy Expert, Universal Postal Union, Intergovernmental Organisation, United Nations (Moderator)


Juan Moroni, Digital Inclusion and Policy Expert, Universal Postal Union, Intergovernmental Organisation, United Nations (Moderator)


1. No Poverty
5. Gender Equality
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: The CONNECT.POST initiative is intended to be a key vehicle for inclusion, reducing inequalities, facilitating the deployment of digital infrastructures, and fostering the development of underserved communities, with a specific focus on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises and Women. This initiative is also designed to be a platform for resource mobilization and for collaboration to promote an inclusive and sustainable digital transformation.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

(1) The postal network is immense and extends to many of the remotest communities. Its reach can be maximized to help boost digital inclusion and drive progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

(2) There are clear benefits that the post office brings as a vehicle for sustainable digital inclusion, especially for citizens and businesses in underserved communities

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

(1) Governments should include posts in their digital transformation and e-commerce strategies and should reflect on their WSIS commitment done 20 years ago to connect all post offices.

(2) Collaboration between global connectivity initiatives such as CONNECT.POST and GIGA, should be strengthened to maximize synergies for achieving digital inclusion utilising schools and post offices. (3) Push for greater awareness among policymakers on the potential of the postal network to contribute to governments' development goals and SDGs.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

The first ever UPU IGF Open Forum delivered a lively and engaging discussion on the role of the postal network in digital inclusion and sustainable socio-economic development, particularly in underserved communities where citizens and small businesses are still disconnected from the digital economy.

The speakers, from various regions and backgrounds, highlighted the importance of the postal service in providing technical solutions, advancing cybersecurity, and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises to participate online. The discussions focused on the challenges and opportunities for postal networks to adapt to the digital age and reposition themselves in order to provide universal services and reliable logistics delivery services.

Speakers called attention to the successful collaboration between governments and postal operators in Zimbabwe and Ghana, where the postal office is recognized as an implementation partner for government policy.

Also highlighted was the importance of educating postal employees around digital capabilities and utilizing the postal network to promote digital literacy in the communities it serves. The importance of digital literacy and skills particularly in rural areas to ensure that communities can take advantage of the opportunities brought by digitalization was clearly emphasised.

The CONNECT.POST initiative led by the UPU aims to ensure that every post office has sufficient access to the internet by 2030. The session emphasizes the need for governments, the private sector, and development partners to work together to achieve this goal.

The importance of integrating the postal network into governments' digital plans was highlighted, following which questions and feedback from the audience were facilitated.

Video Recording


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