Business / Technology
Saturday, 18 Jun 2016 15:20 EATjmoyi@kenyafreepress.com
The Postal Corporation of Kenya, Posta, has launched a digital product that they believe will not only change the way Kenyans perceive and interact with Posta but also ensure growth and profitability.
Mpost is a digital product that enables customers enjoy postal services through the mobile phone. To register you send short messaging service [sms] to 40777 and follow the prompts. The service costs KSh300 per year.
Posta for a long time has been viewed as the “least likely to succeed” child of the old Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation. The other siblings being Communications Authority, Telkom and Safaricom. The postal mail was even derisively dubbed, “snail mail”.
The Postmaster General, Dr Enock Kinara, stated that Posta is laying emphasis on technology to spur growth and profitability. He said that Mpost launch was being done after a very successful pilot project undertaken at Nairobi’s City Square Post office for two months between April and June 2016. In partnership with Taz Technologies, a private ICT operator.
The PMG said that they have recently launched the Coastline Bus Service and have already acquired two buses of an expected total of thirty. Currently, they operate on the Busia route, while awaiting the other buses, for national rollout.
The other major project is partnering with the government by providing the outlets for the Huduma centres and Posta pay for the public services at these centres.
The chief guest was the Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Joe Mucheru, who commended Posta and urged other public corporations to emulate Posta by partnering with innovators in order to find solutions. He was rather lukewarm in his endorsement of the Coastline Bus Service and indicated that more consultations need to be done on the same.
The initiator of the Mpost concept, Abdul Aziz Omar, CEO and founder of Taz Technologies, explained how it came about. After an interview he performed well and was offered the job, unfortunately, the letter informing him of the good news lay in the post box for two months! By that time the job had gone. As it is said, “every adversity has the seed for growth,” the future CEO asked himself – How could postal customers be notified immediately mail reached their boxes?
He eloquently enumerated the disadvantages of the old postal box system. First, many Kenyans cannot afford the KSh2,320 annual fees for a private box, hence the sharing of boxes by families, communities, institutions and the resultant problems of loss of mail or delivery delays.
The PMG said that 21,000 people had already signed up for the service and Posta was optimistic that Kenyans will embrace this service which is the first in this region of Africa, the way Mpesa was taken up. The service will track your mail and notify you once it is received. Privacy will be enhanced as there will be no communal sharing of boxes, even if you have a physical postal box it will be linked to Mpost.
John is an editorial quality advisor at the Kenya Free Press.