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6 October 2017 | Feature Article

Is The Cost Of The New National Digital Addressing System Fair And Good Value For Money - When what3words Has A Free App That Addresses The Same Problem?

President Nana Akufo- Addo
President Nana Akufo- Addo

An old wag I know, who is familiar with the what3words global addressing system that enables individuals who download a free app to be accurately located because it divides the world into 3 cm squares, drew my attention to the fact that a Dansoman tech start-up is apparently selling a similar system to the government of Ghana for U.S.$2.7 million or thereabouts.

Being someone who isn't a digital native, I told him that it was important not to rush into judgement and assume that Mother Ghana was being ripped off by yet another software supplier, as there might be a perfectly legitimate reason, tech-wise, for the government to have to pay for the new national digital addressing system, despite the fact that a free app does exactly the same job for those those who download the what3words app.

This blog's humble advice to the masters of the universe who now govern our country, is that to avoid unecessary speculation by the cynics in our midst - whose unhelpful pessimism infects everything of value meant to ensure Ghanaian society's progress - the government's spokespersons should provide detailed information, to Ghanaians, about the cost of the new digital national addressing system.

Above all, the government must provide a detailed cost breakdown of the new digital national addressing system to the entirety of the Ghanaian media. That will ensure that ordinary people get to hear about it and understand its importance to the nation's rapid development.

And since this blog supports the idea of government contracts going to dynamic, honest and innovative young Ghanaian entrepreneurs, our humble advice to the government's spokespersons is that to deny our nation's conspiracy theorists the oxygen of publicity, they ought to get the Dansoman tech start-up that is said to be providing the new digital national addressing system for our country, to publicly assure Ghanaians that they have not pirated what3words' freely available global addressing system, and that the U.S. $2.7 million they are charging the government of Ghana is reasonable and fair.

Simply put, the question the Dansoman tech start-up's owners must answer is: Is the cost of the new national digital addressing system fair to Mother Ghana and good value for money for taxpayers - when what3words has a free app that addresses the same problem precisely?

POST SCRIPT
For those of us who since the late 90s have urged our leaders (in our writing) to put a national identification and addressing system in place, this really is welcome news indeed. Kudos to both the government of President Akufo-Addo and the Dansoman tech start-up that is providing Ghana with a new national digital addressing system. Cool.

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