Ghana began a roll out of a digital mapping address system last year to end the frustration associated with locating an address in the country.
The app, GhanaPostGPS, is a new home-grown mobile app that is changing how people get around, putting an end to the confusion faced by everyone, from ambulance, bus and taxi drivers to courier service providers.
It provides a unique code for properties that will make it easier to locate places and is a radical shift from the way many Ghanaians currently navigate.
This means that instead of using a church, mosque, tree, street stall or blue kiosk to locate a home or business in the country, with the digital address system, every property across the nation has a unique code as its address.
The GhanaPostGPS was created and delivered by home-based Vokacom.
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Through the app, a user can generate his or her own digital address with the aid of geocoding technology, cutting out the need for convoluted navigation instructions.
Before then, the country, like many developing countries, lacked a formal addressing system and, instead of a number and a street name, often landmarks, be they junctions, trees or coloured gates, were used to describe locations.
It is in this respect that the Daily Graphic wishes to commend the government and Vokacom for the radical way they are helping to formalise the economy by bringing more people into the tax system, improve property ownership data and bring efficiency to service delivery.
We are particularly happy at the fact that the digitisation of properties will also lower the cost of business.
This is so because once an address can be located, the risk premium charged by banks will be lower. Businesses can also produce at lower cost and will have enough funds for reinvestment.
It is a fact that 88 per cent of the country’s employment is reliant on the informal sector.
A large informal sector usually means that the government will struggle to collect income tax from workers.
So the digitisation will help the government identify potential taxpayers for the necessary collections.
Again, it will be the basis for all e-commerce platforms, so that people can now sit in Ghana and buy things from abroad and have them delivered directly to their homes.
The National Address Database is expected to create an avenue for new businesses and industry, as entrepreneurs could identify business opportunities and open up new businesses and employ more people, while the youth may venture into delivery services, market research businesses and many more.
On health and security, a digital address system will be especially useful, since the law enforcement agencies and fire and ambulance services can effectively access emergency scenes quickly in order to extend the appropriate assistance.
For us, the digital address system is innovative and shows the country’s readiness to leapfrog its technological drive for rapid economic development.
It is our expectation that the digital property address system, national identification, mobile money interoperability and land records digitisation will all help in the economic formalisation system.
It is for this reason that the Daily Graphic encourages all to download the mobile app and generate their own addresses, so that we can help speed up the digitisation drive for national development and prosperity.