Mail services could soon resume in Somalia

After 23 years with no postal services, Somalia could soon start receiving mail again, thanks to talks facilitated by the Universal Postal Union.

Under a memorandum of understanding, the parties committed to negotiating the details of an agreement that would see Dubai act as a hub for handling mail destined for Somalia in future.

Abdullahi E. Hersi, Somali minister of information, posts, telecommunication and transports, and Emirates Post president, Fahad al Hosani, signed the memorandum on April 22 with the UPU director general, Bishar A. Hussein, present.

“It is time for our government to provide postal services,” said Minister Hersi, who added that communication is a human right. “People may have the internet and phones, but these will never replace the benefit of receiving mail from a distance,” he said.

UPU Director General Hussein said the agreement signaled an important step toward launching mail services again in Somalia, but it is just the beginning, he said.

The postal network is practically non-existent in Somalia, which covers more than 637,000 square kilometres and has a population of 9.9 million people. In 1991, the country had some 100 post offices and a postal staff of 2,165. Today, there is one general post office in the capital and some 25 staff.

During the signing ceremony, Hersi appealed to the postal community to help rebuild the Post in his country. “We ask for all means of assistance as we have to start from ground zero,” he said.

The current Somali government came into power in September 2012 after years of civil war, chaos and a number of transitional governments. Some two million Somalis live abroad.