Mobile innovations map addresses across Africa

Over four billion people lack a formal address according to the Universal Postal Union with many still relying on landmarks, some of which no longer exist, for directions and addresses.

This makes delivery of mail, emergency services and aid among other services difficult for over half the world’s population, but mobile innovations are changing this.

Coders4Africa (C4A) tells Appsafrica.com they have begun alpha testing on their latest app Anwani which they claim “is potentially a global game changer.” Anwani meaning “address” in Swahili, helps users create a physical address in just 30 seconds, with huge implications for service delivery across sectors, including government, transport, and e-commerce

Anwani, available on Android devices at the moment, uses Google plus+codes on the backend. “Users simply provide their name, mobile number, a pin code and a picture of the location they want to create an address for. This location is then geolocalized and saved for the user to share with other individuals, businesses or even government entities” explains Amadou Daffe CEO of Coders4Africa .

Three Words says it all
 Similarly, What3words has already built a uniform global location reference system that gives everyone, everything & everywhere a simple address. They have divided the world into a grid of 57 trillion 3mx3m squares and have pre allocated each with a fixed and unique 3 word address.

It is built on the premise that 3 words are significantly more memorable than the equivalent alphanumeric characters or lat/long coordinates required to define the same location, and much quicker and easier to say. In places with no street addresses What3Words explain they are quicker and cheaper to implement than any other system. Currently What3Words are being used in to deliver packages in the Favelas, medicine in the Townships, address water pipes and mosquito nets in Tanzania and direct staff at music festivals in the UK.

According to Coders4Africa co-founder Kwame Andah. “the main differentiator between Anwani and similar apps currently on the African market, is our branding into 3 different verticals”, however he declined to share how they plan to generate revenue at this stage so watch this space.

What3words goal is for to become a global standard for communicating location. It is free for individuals to use online and through the apps. At the moment, the core what3words algorithms and data are not in the public domain but in the future, they may release some or all of our source code in the future so that people can continue to rely on the what3words system.


Originally published at appsafrica.com on January 4, 2016.