Saturday, October 29, 2016

A new philatelic webshop for African bureaux

During a side conference on October 5th at the Universal Postal Union Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, the public postal operator of Morocco (Poste Maroc in French, Barid Al Maghrib in Arabic) and seven fellow operators of Africa announced the launch of a common philatelic sale website: the Hub philatélique africain or Africa Philately Shop in the two languages available at .

A press realease was posted by Poste Maroc on his website the same day, explaining the purpose and project around this new tool.
The Moroccan stamp announcing the Africa Philately Shop, printed by the French post's printer plant Phil@poste Boulazac (Poste Maroc).
Host of the website, Poste Maroc issued a nine dirham stamp for the occasion, with the officials signing first day covers.

The illustration is as perforated simple and efficient as the website that I suspect could be easily used with the touchscreen of a smartphone - the object whose text-and-phone only form has permitted to develop banking and commercial services for many, unhoped for during the landline period.

The six countries whose postal operators entered references on the Hub are; Burkina Faso (2), Ivory Coast (7), Mali (1, the 400 francs Serval - the animal in thanks to the French military operation), Mauritania (10), Senegal (12) and the host (2 stamps, 1 minisheet, 3 commemorative covers).

Part can be selected for order, the other not. But I didn't finalize a new client inscription and place an order: the website is currently missing some legal page to reassure the customer and not all necessary page to order were translated in English.

Though when finished, the operation seems promising. The list of participants could reach Centrafrica and the Democratic Republic of Congo, partners of the initiative. And all those who can sign in in the future: officials of the Universal Postal Union and of the West African States Postal Conference that replaced in 2012 the West African Postal Conference, created 2001.

The press release explained the long-term project: that the philatelic new issue trade can be kept under the continental operators' control and to "open the prospect to establish an African platform for e-commerce" (my amateurish translation from the French).

It reminds the multi-sellers site host by Mauritius Post or the World Online Philatelic Agency (WOPA) host by Gibraltar, available in six languages and payment in twenty currencies, even some not used in the represented countries. As of today, WOPA proposed clients to look and buy directly stamps and souvenirs of 39 postal operators from more than 20 European States (a lot of overseas and autonomous regions and three operators from Asia, but more and more "normal" bureaux such as Austria, Croatia, the United Kingdom and, recently, la France).

As soon as the Africa Philatelic Hub/Shop is up and running smoothly, there will one more source for informations on African countries issues and stamps eventually (Ah... what of the postal agencies?) available in the local post offices.

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