Preparatory to the take-off of the electronic commerce system in the country, the Nigeria Post & Telecommunications service, NIPOST, says it was adopting a system that would improve the delivery of its services.
The “what3words address” is an innovative global addressing system designed to help the postal service increase the number of homes it is capable of delivering to.
The NIPOST said in a statement on Wednesday that Nigeria was the seventh country, and the third in Africa to adopt the system, already in use for mail deliveries in Mongolia, Saint Maarten, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Tonga and Solomon Islands.
Reputed to be Africa’s largest economy with over 180 million people, Nigeria is noted to have a poor addressing system that allows only 20 per cent of its inhabitants to receive their mails at home while only about 478,000 boxes are available in the post offices.
To redress the situation and improve its services, NIPOST said it had set a target to raise its own home delivery services to over 70 per cent within the next two years.
“A postcode system does exist, but only 5 per cent of mails get properly addressed with the postcode, hampering the efforts of NIPOST to improve its quality of service,” the statement also said.
The service said the rate is expected to hit 90 per cent by 2020 through the “Mail for Every House Initiative, MEHI, apart from the new “what3words” system, adopted to help it achieve these goals.
NIPOST said the innovative global addressing system has divided the world into 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares, each having a unique three-word address.
“It means 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,” the statement said.
“The what3words API launched in 2013 is being integrated by business, applications and services across the world in a wide variety of sectors. It is also used by individuals via the free what3words app.”
The new system is available in 14 languages.
With many more currently in development, the postal agency said the new system, apart from being more accurate than traditional street addresses, was 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.
Nigeria’s Postmaster General, Bisi Adegbuyi, has said NIPOST was pleased to collaborate with what3words to adopt an addressing solution with the huge potential to unlock opportunities.
“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,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES reports that Nigeria’s population consist of young people (62 per cent), which reflects the significant increase in cross border e-commerce in the country, with about 53,612 parcels and packets handled in 2016 (approximately 200 per day), up to 70 per cent since 2014.
Financial analysts say the e-commerce market is currently worth $12 billion, although there is still huge potential for growth.
With improvements in infrastructure, innovation around payment systems and a reliable addressing system, Nigerian e-commerce could be set to take off at an incredible scale.
The Chief Executive Officer, CEO and Co-founder of what3words, Chris Sheldrick, said with a rapidly growing e-commerce ecosystem, Nigeria is a very exciting country to work with.
“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,” Mr. Sheldrick said.