Within the next six months, citizens will experience new postal services," says Ali Meselhi, the newly appointed chairman of the Egyptian National Post Organisation (ENPO). It recently announced an LE360 million plan to upgrade its services, using state-of-the-art information technology.

"Do you think that people like us will be able to use hi-tech machines and complex information technology?" 31-year-old Hanan Mahmoud, an illiterate housewife with three children, asked the Egyptian Mail.

Hanan heard that ENPO is to create a new Website to provide e-post services, allowing people to download all the officials documents they used to have to buy from the PO. To spare themselves the trouble of queuing up at the post office, civil servants currently pay office boys to go and buy the stamps and official documents they need.

"The aim is turn POs into e-post offices," says Meselhi. The organisation, in co-operation with IBM, will introduce e-post saving books for up to 10,000 subscribers with total deposits of at least LE20 billion.

"The IBM-ENPO project is an ‘end-to-end solution’ designed to meet current business needs. It is based on a smart card pilot project in conjunction with the MCIT, whereby ENPO customers will be given cards. People with post office savings books will have the right to get this smart card, which will carry all the information in their savings book.

"It requires a technological network, infrastructure, consulting, application development, training and system integration services, that will be offered and managed by IBM for the first three years and then by ENPO," he explains.