BusinessGhana digitised its address system …

Ghana digitised its address system …


Sensible urbanism is about utilizing digital applied sciences to deal with city issues. Throughout the continent, digital applied sciences and good initiatives have been utilized in myriad methods, together with crime management, city planning and visitors administration.

It hasn’t all the time labored, nonetheless. Generally these initiatives have failed as a result of the applied sciences weren’t properly built-in into the native context. Or insurance policies didn’t take note of social realities and technical necessities.

Ghana presents one such instance. The nation launched a sensible initiative in 2017: a digital system to provide each city property an tackle. It’s a phone-based utility which is designed to find options anyplace in Ghana. The tackle is introduced in alpha-numeric format (resembling EY-0329-2478) and exhibits particulars such because the area and the metropolitan, municipal and district authority. It additionally exhibits the road title of the characteristic (a home or church, for instance) and shows its coordinates.

People can generate their very own tackle and generally officers go to a property, generate the digital tackle for that property and provide the occupants with a tag, or bodily label, to affix to the property.

The system was designed to supply digital addresses for properties, which may then be used for service supply, entry to providers and facilitate industrial transactions. It was additionally meant to beat challenges with utilizing the outdated tackle system. This consisted of numbers (for sections of streets) and letters (for streets). It had no coordinate system and was by no means digitised.

Cities want tackle methods that make it doable to supply location primarily based providers.

We carried out a examine to know whether or not residents had been utilizing the brand new “good” system. By this we wished to discover how helpful the digital addresses had been to residents of their on a regular basis routines.

We discovered that there was certainly a spot between design and actuality. Uptake was low and other people had been pissed off with the system.

This occurs when design options don’t take account of things particular to a sure context. This will embody the digital tradition of the residents and disparities in entry to the web. A mixture of those elements typically journeys up digitalisation programmes and initiatives in African cities.

Our findings present that digitalisation initiatives in Ghana must take these into consideration in the event that they’re going to succeed. In addition they want to incorporate the engagement of people that will use the providers to know their expectations.

A digital tackle system

The federal government launched the digital property tackle system with the expectation of enhancing navigation of built-up areas by way of fundamental landmarks like retailers, drains and roads.

Higher navigation was meant to enhance entry to important providers and waste administration. The system was speculated to make it straightforward to establish properties regardless of the casual, unplanned, and unmapped nature of a lot of the city setting.

There have been various snags within the implementation of the digital property tackle system.

Firstly, selections had been taken from the workplace of the vice-president and carried out at native governing models. There was little enter from native folks, which resulted in poor understanding from the residents and apathy in the direction of the initiative.

Secondly, there have been hitches in the best way it was rolled out. At first, Ghana Submit offered the tackle tags at a payment to residents. The subsequent part noticed a workforce from the workplace of the vice-president doing the tagging without charge to residents. The primary tags had solely the digital tackle with out options like road title and home quantity. They now have all of the options.

The consequence of that is the show of various digital addresses for residents’ homes. This issues as a result of the tag offered to residents is now a requirement for varied public service businesses such because the passport workplace, telecommunication corporations, and the Nationwide Identification Authority.

What we discovered

We carried out our examine in three suburban communities of Accra, Ghana’s capital metropolis. We examined the elements influencing using the system. We selected representatives of households primarily based on their curiosity in participating within the examine, and we had 999 respondents in complete.

We discovered that particular person and contextual elements formed using the system in Accra.

First, there was a distinction between constructing house owners and tenants. About 68% of residents who owned properties had been possible to make use of the digital property addressing system, and solely 32% of renters.

Second, socioeconomic attributes resembling revenue, web information price and training degree had been additionally key determinants. Residents with low-level training and decrease revenue had been least possible to make use of the system. Inside this group, we discovered this was largely about perceptions of the advantages and challenges of utilizing a digital know-how.

The problem of belief got here up among the many folks we interviewed. Perceptions about inefficiencies in authorities initiatives and irregularities in previous digital initiatives meant that folks didn’t belief the brand new system.

The notion was that the system was arrange as a part of a political agenda somewhat than to satisfy a developmental want. It was considered as being imposed by the presidency with out engagement, transparency and accountability. There wasn’t actual possession from the customers’ perspective.

Total, we discovered that about 62% of residents and even public businesses weren’t utilizing it of their each day operations.


Our findings counsel that policymakers must be good about their good urbanism agenda. We name for consideration to the fundamentals:

  • inexpensive and accessible web infrastructure
  • multi-stakeholder engagement
  • transparency and effectivity within the design and implementation of city digital initiatives.

It is just in getting the priorities proper and adapting to contextual realities that the potential of digitalisation initiatives for sustainable and equitable city growth will likely be realised.The Conversation

Louis Kusi Frimpong, Lecturer, College of Setting and Sustainable Growth ; Matthew Abunyewah, Lecturer, Charles Darwin College and Adjunct Senior Lecturer, The College of Newcastle, Charles Darwin College; Seth Asare Okyere, Visiting Assistant Professor, College of Arizona, and Stephen Kofi Diko, Assistant Professor, College of Memphis

This text is republished from The Dialog below a Inventive Commons license. Learn the unique article.


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