Nigeria, one of Africa’s largest economies, adopts 3 word addresses

NIPOST will use what3words to increase the number of homes it can deliver to and improve delivery services in preparation for the takeoff of Nigerian e-commerce

Nigeria’s postal service, NIPOST, has just announced its adoption of the innovative global addressing system what3words. Nigeria is the seventh country to adopt what3words, and the third in Africa. The system is already being used for mail deliveries in Mongolia, Sint Maarten, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Tonga and Solomon Islands. Nigeria is Africa’s second largest economy and its most populous country with approximately 184 million inhabitants. It has the seventh largest population in the world.

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Nigeria’s poor addressing system means that only 20% of its inhabitants receive mail at home. 79% of homes and businesses cannot receive deliveries to the door, and the remaining 1% receive their mail using one of the 478,000 P.O. boxes throughout the country. A postcode system does exist, but only 5% of mail gets properly addressed with the postcode, hampering the efforts of NIPOST to improve its  quality of service. 

An addressing solution

Determined to improve this situation, NIPOST has set itself the ambitious target of increasing home delivery to 70% within the next 2 years and 90% by 2020 through the Mail for Every House Initiative (MEHI), and has adopted what3words to help it achieve these goals. The innovative global addressing system has divided the world into 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares, each with a unique 3 word address. It means that every home and business in Nigeria has a simple and accurate address that is easy to remember and to use. For example ///bracelets.hesitations.mutes refers to the exact 3m x 3m square at the entrance to the main post office in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

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Available in 14 languages, with many more currently in development, what3words is used in over 170 countries by governments, postal services, logistics companies, emergency services and NGOs, as well as individuals. It is more accurate than traditional street addresses, simpler than landmark-based directions, and easier to remember and communicate than GPS coordinates. The system has built-in error detection and is available through a free mobile app and API integration. The system even works offline, without a data connection.

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“We are very pleased to be collaborating with what3words as an addressing solution with huge potential to unlock opportunities” said Barrister Bisi Adegbuyi, Nigeria’s Postmaster General. “Better addressing is a key to NIPOST’s agenda, which aims to transform, innovate, and deliver more services to more people all over the country”.

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E-commerce potential

Young people make up 62% of Nigeria’s population, and this is reflected in the significant increase in cross-border e-commerce in the country; 53,612 parcels and packets were handled in 2016 (approx. 200 per day) which is up 70% since 2014. The e-commerce market is currently worth $12 billion, but there is still huge potential for growth. With improvements to infrastructure, innovation around payment systems and a reliable addressing system, Nigerian e-commerce could be set to take off at an incredible scale.

“With a rapidly growing ecommerce ecosystem, Nigeria is a very exciting country to be working with,” said Chris Sheldrick, CEO and Co-founder of what3words. “Postal services have a critical role in building a strong economy and NIPOST are firmly focused on the future, and are taking steps to modernise and grow their capacity and range of services.”

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About what3words

what3words is an innovative global addressing system. It has divided the world in 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares, each with a unique 3 word address. 3 word addresses are easy to remember, and to share via email, text or over the phone. The addresses are pre-assigned, using an algorithm and each 3 word address refers to a precise 3m x 3m square somewhere in the world. The what3words API is being integrated by business, apps and services across the world in a wide variety of sectors. It is also used by individuals via the free what3words app. The system is currently available in 14 languages, with many more in development, and it is also optimised for voice recognition. Since its launch in 2013, what3words has won many awards, and in 2016 CEO Chris Sheldrick was named EY’s British Accelerating Entrepreneur.

About NIPOST

NIPOST is the designated postal operator for Nigeria. It has 10,093 employees, spread among 2,795 post offices throughout the country and handles around 10 billion mail items a year. NIPOST is currently working to modernise and streamline its operations and has plans to diversify profitably into financial services, e-commerce and logistics, insurance, shipping and property, to provide quality postal services that satisfy the aspirations of all stakeholders. 

Web site: www.what3words.com 

Media inquiries: press@what3words.com

what3words press kit with more information, images and videos: 

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About what3words

what3words is a global grid of 3mx3m squares where each square has been pre-allocated a fixed and unique 3 word address.

75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems. 

This means that around 4 billion people are invisible; unable to report crime; unable to get deliveries or receive aid; and unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live.

It means that in remote locations water facilities can’t be found, monitored and fixed; and schools, refugee camps and informal settlements remain unaddressed. Even in countries with advanced systems, people get lost, packages aren’t delivered and businesses aren’t found.

Poor addressing is costly & annoying in developed countries, but limits growth and threatens lives in developing ones.

Our API is being integrated into businesses, apps & services. It works across all platforms and devices, in multiple languages, offline and with voice recognition.

What3words means everyone and everywhere now has an address.