Kenya plans to digitise addresses for easy access

Monday November 07 2016

Kenya's Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology Joe Mucheru. PHOTO | FILE

Kenya plans to  implement  a new system of  numbering and naming of  places and property to  reduce  losses from delays in  cargo  reaching  its  destination.

Manufacturers and the business community say the move is timely, and will ease the cost of doing business.

“It’s a very welcome idea. All progressive economies have this. It improves safety of cargo because it is easy to track, and also security to avoid multiple registration of one property,” said Carole Kariuki, the chief executive of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa).

Attempts to come up with such a system failed in 2010, partly due to unavailability of resources.

The proposed system is expected to boost trade and help the tax authorities identify businesses and their precise locations for taxation.

The country is in the process of hiring a consultant to develop the standards and guidelines that will drive the process in accordance with international recognised practices.


The proposed   addressing standards   will serve as a single authoritative source of information for the positioning of street address by counties and roads/highway authorities.

The National Addressing System is a framework that provides for the naming and numbering of streets   and properties (buildings/parcels of land) to facilitate easy identification and location of such places on the ground through digitised maps.

Ease of doing business

Government data shows  that   58 per cent of  cargo experiences delays  reaching its destination   while waiting for  more information   from the sender or recipient, 25 per cent not  delivered at all, while  17 per cent  is misdirected as a result of wrong addresses on the label.

Under the new arrangement, the government has recommended an upgrade of post code and postal addressing to include postal zone (equivalent to the 47 county governments), postal area (equivalent to the existing postal areas or sub-counties or constituencies), postal district (equivalent to locations or wards) and postal unit (equivalent to sub-locations or blocks/streets or groups of addresses).

“At a time when we are celebrating the government’s efforts to pave the way for the ease of doing business, implementing a system that reduces losses for business is a good idea. However, we should first assess how easy it is to integrate this system into the current processes so that it does not end up becoming one more hurdle for business owners,” said Phyllis Wakiaga, the chief executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.

“Consultation before the implementation of any system is a must, and I urge the government to engage all relevant stakeholders for this,” added Ms Wakiaga.

According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report (2017), Kenya’s position in the rankings improved by 21 places globally as a result of reforms in the area of starting a business, registering property, access to electricity, resolving insolvency and protecting minority investors.


The country ranked 92nd out of 190 countries sampled, with Mauritius and Rwanda at 49th and 56th place respectively.
The proposed system should help online retailers like Rupu and Jumia to offer door-to-door deliveries, while taxi hailing services like Uber, LittleCabs and Dandia will locate their passengers with greater precision.

“With this system, the opportunities that will open up from an e-commerce perspective are endless,” said Joseph Mucheru, the ICT Cabinet Secretary.

“Food deliveries and supermarket grocery shopping will be made a lot easier,” added Mr Mucheru.