Claim: Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, says that Ghana is the first African country to develop a digital address system.
Verdict: Checks by DUBAWA Ghana show that at least the neighbouring country, Ivory Coast, had adopted a digital address system before Ghana did.
Ghana’s Vice-President has been on an unending campaign to tout the government’s effort in digitalizing the country’s economy.
He says that the government is keen on taking various digitalisation policies to enable local enterprises to be competitive and achieve a comparative advantage in making them attractive.
Speaking at the University of Ghana during the opening of the 2023 Annual New Year School and Conference on January 17, 2023, Dr Bawumia said that Ghana is the first on the continent to adopt a digital address system.
“We have implemented the digital address system so every part of Ghana, property or location, has its digital address. We are the first country in Africa to do so,” he said.
The event was live-streamed on the Facebook page of Daily Graphic, and the claim can be found between minutes 1:44:00 to 1:44:50
Verifying the claim began with a simple google search, and among the results was a link to a December 2016 publication by CNET. The publication was headlined “Ivory Coast adopts unconventional digital address system.”
“The country’s postal system just adopted the startup technology, which assigns a three-word phrase to each 3-meter square on the map. For example, heaven.mallard.houseguests is a structure on the outskirts of Mberie,” a part of the CNET publication reads.
We later found publications by BBC (Dec 9, 2016), QZ.com (Dec 10, 2016), and CNN (published on January 10, 2017, and last updated on Sept. 4, 2017) on the development in Ivory Coast. The publication date of the various reports on Ivory Coast’s adoption of the what3words digital address system was before Ghana’s launch.
Ghana launched its digital property address system, “ghanapostGPS, on Wednesday, October 19, 2017.
What3words in Ivory Coast
According to the company’s website, Ivory Coast is the first country on the continent to adopt its system.
The company explained how it works: “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 worldwide.”
Evidently, Ivory Coast started implementing a digital property address system before Ghana did, thus making the assertion by the vice president false.