How South Africa’s postal service compares to the rest of the world

A new report from Universal Postal Union (UPU) ranks the service of as many as 173 postal operators globally, including South Africa.

Released as part of the Postal Development Report 2018, the Index measures four areas of development – reliability, reach, relevance and resilience.

For the second year running, Switzerland has placed first in the comparative Integrated Index for Postal Development (or 2IPD), achieving the top score for its balanced performance, including top volume per capita and a well-diversified portfolio.

Netherlands ranked second thanks to its delivery speed and interconnectedness with international partners. The demand for Japan’s postal services, as well as their quality is credited for its third-place ranking.

Despite a gap between industrialised and developing countries, standout performers in each developing region showed that this gap is not insurmountable. Poland, Singapore, Tunisia, Brazil and Nigeria all led the way in their respective regions.

The report demonstrates Posts’ ability to spread innovation, and spotlights a positive relationship between postal development and robust global value chains.

South Africa ranks 88th in the world, with a score of 33.34. Africa’s average score is 22.37, with Nigeria (51), Mauritius (54), Morocco (62) and Ghana (74) the best performers in this geographical area. South Africa is ninth in Africa, also behind Kenya (87), Togo (85), Cameroon (77), and Uganda (79)

“Nigeria has achieved the top spot in the region thanks to sustained performance in terms of reliability and connectivity, in spite of a drop in resilience.

“Indeed, with a score of 85.12, Nigeria’s reliability is among the 25 highest in the sample. This is corroborated by relatively good average delivery times of 3.6, 4.4 and 2.0 days for letters, parcels and express mail respectively,” the report said.

“Ghana has made significant improvements in the same area, enabling it to improve its overall score by 7.22 points and to progress in the global ranking from 92nd to 74th place. For instance, the average delivery time for parcels and express mail stands at 2.9 and 2.0 days respectively.”

With some 31% of the world’s population—or about two billion people—currently excluded from financial services globally, the report finds that posts could contribute to the achievement of financial inclusion by leveraging their vast networks.

A link between a country’s score in the ranking and the percentage of adults with bank accounts is evidence that Posts could have an invaluable role in offering financial services, positively impacting national economies and helping countries maximize growth potential for financial inclusion.

Indeed, the South African Post Office is trialing a programme to pay the country’s grant beneficiaries directly into their personal accounts held at commercial banks or through its Postbank. It has also applied to the Reserve Bank for a licence to operate as a commercial bank.

Read: How much it will cost to send a letter or parcel through the SA Post Office in 2018

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How South Africa’s postal service compares to the rest of the world