- Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 20: Waiting for ‘Rowland Hill’ – Elements of Reform of Postal Services in Sub-Saharan Africa
* José Ansón and Joëlle Toledano 1. INTRODUCTION Mail communication in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) struggles to maintain even its current extremely low level. While only 3.4 postal items per capita are exchanged on average in SSA (2004), receivers must pay an annual fee equivalent to 56 stamps for receiving mail through the exclusive P.O. Box delivery system chosen by most SSA countries. Once structural factors such as literacy and the youth of the population were taken into account, no statistically signiﬁcant relationship was found between the level of mail and income per capita in low-income countries in one of our recent studies (Ansón et al., 2006). The purpose of this research is to shed light on the determinants that hinder postal development in SSA. A survey of postal delivery in SSA (Ansón and Toledano, 2007) was organized so as to get detailed insights on the organization of postal delivery that could ease the understanding of postal markets in SSA. Economic theory – two-sided markets theories (e.g., Rochet and Tirole, 2003; Armstrong, 2006), and a dynamic panel econometric estimation à la Arellano and Bond (1991) – supports the insights arising from the survey. It is puzzling to notice that while network infrastructure is steadily expanding in SSA (Estache and Goicoechea, 2005), postal communication and networks are not so doing. It is somewhat puzzling that the postal infrastructure barely beneﬁts from increasing access to other infrastructure services, such as water, telecommunications, electricity or transportation. The chapter shows that the value...
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