— London, December 9th, 2016 – what3words, the multi-award winning addressing system, has been adopted as an addressing standard for La Poste, the Côte d’Ivoire’s national postal system. Côte d’Ivoire is the first African nation – and second country in the world – to adopt 3 word addresses to improve its national infrastructure.
Officially 22.7 million people live in Côte d’Ivoire, and both the population and cities are growing rapidly. However, the country has only a few street addresses and many informal settlements with no addressing system at all. The current postal system does not deliver to home addresses and instead relies on Post Office boxes and descriptive directions (for example, “opposite the gas station, near the Internet Cafe”).
By using what3words, every location in the country now has an instant address. what3words provides an easy-to-use, accurate, and fixed address for every 3m x 3m square in the world. Making this address system part of the country’s infrastructure, and integral to La Poste’s service, will help unlock the region’s economic growth and social development. As a first step, La Poste wants to use this integration to make home deliveries a reality for millions.
Customers will be able to identify any 3 word address using the free La Poste app and simply write it on an envelope. Thanks to further partnerships with online retailers including supermarket yaatoo customers will also be able to enter the address on the checkout page of shopping websites.
Every citizen now has an address, whether they live in rural areas such as opera.cellblock.limb (in English) or espadon.chaleur.éventail (in French), a village near the town of Anoumaba, or hurry.bonds.midwinter (in English) or modeste.déjeunant.enlever (in French) – an unaddressed street junction in a crowded area of Abidjan. what3words will be integrated across La Poste’s internal systems, while postal workers will use a 3 word address to navigate directly to the 3m x 3m square to find a customer’s front door.
3 word addresses will also support La Poste in a significant deal with OCP Africa, the African arm of OCP Group, the world’s largest producer and distributor of fertiliser and other farming products. More than half of Côte d’Ivoire’s land is used for agriculture and La Poste will be using what3words to deliver OCP’s products to farmers across the country.
“With a burgeoning ecommerce industry, rapidly growing cities and an emerging middle class, African nations are outgrowing their informal addressing systems,” commented Isaac Gnamba-Yao, CEO at La Poste de Côte d’Ivoire. “In what3words, La Poste has found a simple solution that instantly provides Côte d’Ivoire with a robust and multi-lingual addressing system. 3 word addresses will help us to extend ecommerce opportunities, home delivery and support businesses in both urban and rural spaces.”
La Poste de Côte d’Ivoire will serve a population six times larger than that of Mongolia, the first country to integrate 3 word addresses into its postal system earlier this year. The partnership was launched as part of the Forum Postal African, hosted in Abidjan. The launch has already spurred a series of integrations from leading ecommerce companies to public service providers.
Afrimarket, one of the leading e-commerce companies in French speaking West Africa, will also soon accept 3 word addresses. The service is available in Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, Benin and Togo and recently raised $11 million to expand across Africa.
Jeremy Stoss the co-founder & co-CEO of Afrimarket said “Poor addressing is a huge barrier to efficient e-commerce operations. Especially for businesses like ours who deliver about 30% of our parcels in rural areas, along dirt roads without official street names. 3 word addresses are a clever way to tackle this problem and we’re very much looking forward to implementing it in our delivery system across Africa.”
Using Document.ci Ivorians will also soon be able to use 3 word addresses to order official state documents, such as wedding certificates, for home delivery. Farmstrong Foundation, an NGO supporting smallholder farmers, is using 3 word addresses to map and find the farmers it serves. Maho, a logistics delivery and navigation app launched by TransPlusAfrica, is also using 3 word addresses to help businesses like just1click to locate and deliver to its customers.
Isaac Gnamba-Yao is also the leader of the Universal Postal Union for Western Africa and sees plenty of application across the region, “This integration lays the foundation for widespread use of precision 3 word addressing across the whole of Africa’s public and private infrastructure.”
Available in thirteen languages, including French, English and Swahili, what3words is used by individuals, delivery companies, navigation tools, governments, logistics firms, travel guides and NGOs. It is more precise than traditional addresses, simpler than descriptions, and easier to communicate and remember than long strings of GPS coordinates. The system has built-in error detection and is available both as a mobile app and API integration. The system works offline without a data connection, ensuring it can be used everywhere.
“We are on a mission to change the way people communicate location. With our partners we are making the world a more efficient, less frustrating and safer place,” said Chris Sheldrick, CEO and Co-Founder of what3words. “The Cote d’Ivoire is the second country to use 3 word addresses to leapfrog the hundreds of other nations that still rely on inaccurate, inconsistent or complex addressing systems.”