ADDIS ABABA-- The Universal Postal Union (UPU), a United Nations specialized regulatory agency, is holding a five-day extraordinary congress in Ethiopia this week, the first time it is being held in Africa.

Opening the congress here Monday, Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome said Africa needs to improve quality of service and cope up with modernized postal industry for sustainable development.

He noted that integrated postal development is aligned with Ethiopia's growth and transformation plan.

UPU Director-General Bishar A. Hussein expressed appreciation for Ethiopia's commitment to host the UPU's Second Extraordinary Congress.

Implementation of the UPU's integrated product plan and the integrated remuneration plan, reform of the UPU, reform of the system applied to contributions by UPU member countries, and sustainability of the UPU Provident Scheme will be discussed during the congress.

Ethiopian Communications and Information Technology Minister Ubah Mohamed said the agendas of the meeting were most crucial for the sustainability of the UPU and for the future of the postal sector. The congress would be "a milestone and memorable event in the history of the UPU.

Some 1,000 participants are attending the meeting, which Hussein said was necessary to tackle the industry's challenges, as well as seize new opportunities in the areas of digitalization, technology and e-commerce.

Member countries will also discuss an integrated product plan, as well an integrated remuneration plan, for the delivery of goods through the international postal network.

An Extraordinary Congress may be convened at the request, or with the consent of at least two thirds of the member countries of the UPU. The first Extraordinary Congress was held in Berne, Switzerland, from July 2 to 5, 1900, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the organization.