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Djibouti in East Africa adopts what3words addressing system

Left: Bahnan Ali Maidal, CEO of La Poste Djibouti, with Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of what3words


Djibouti in East Africa has become the first country in the region, and fifth in the world, to adopt the what3words universal addressing system.

what3words is a geocoding system that provides a user-friendly fixed address for every 3m (9.8ft) x 3m (9.8ft) square in the world. According to what3words, approximately 75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems.

Djibouti occupies a total area of just 23,200km² (8,960 square miles) with a population of approximately 850,000 citizens. With only a few named streets, delivering mail is a constant struggle for La Poste de Djibouti, the nation’s official postal system.

Until recently, home delivery was restricted to express mail in Djibouti City, the capital of the republic. Any other post would be delivered to centralized PO boxes, with the recipient responsible for collection. International mail is often misdirected, with some items failing to arrive entirely.

Bahnan Ali Maidal, CEO at La Poste de Djibouti, said, “Thanks to our partnership with what3words, every place in the country now has a fixed, accurate and immediately assigned address. Each inhabitant living in Balbala or Arhiba, Ali Sabieh or Obock, Randa or Assa Geyla, will be able to quickly determine any address, write it on an envelope or communicate it by telephone.

“With our application, individuals and businesses will be able to receive parcels from all over the world. They can sell goods and services throughout the country, insure houses precisely, and deliver local products in the middle of the great Bara or on the Goda mountain without losing their way.”

Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of what3words, said, “Our goal has been to create an infrastructure that quickly solves a problem that many countries have been struggling with for years. La Poste de Djibouti is now the fifth country to adopt three word addresses within the last 12 months. They have taken the lead and now have a solution that leapfrogs traditional, expensive, and inaccurate street systems. La Poste de Djibouti were keen to connect their residents with each other, and the rest of the world. We have worked closely with them for easy implementation and we’re looking forward to doing the same for more countries in the future.”

To inform consumers about their three word address, La Poste de Djibouti is planning an expansive education campaign, including visiting customers’ homes, providing brochures, flyers and other informational material.

La Poste de Djibouti joins Mongol Post, La Poste Cote d’Ivoire, Postal Services Sint Maarten and Tonga Post as postal operators that have adopted the what3words system.

February 17, 2017

Written by Daniel Symonds

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