The Gambia is home to thousands of streets, yet few of them have a name, or even a street number.
It’s a conundrum that inspired me to write an article for the BBC this year with headline: The art of drawing your address.
It described the frustration of giving directions in The Gambia, and the difficulty of simple tasks like filling out an address on forms.
There was quite a reaction both locally and internationally to my piece – but it seemed to make little difference on the ground.
Last week, one of my colleagues spent 35 minutes on the phone trying to direct a policeman to his house in order to thwart a burglary.
So imagine my delight at reading a recent tweet from Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), saying that a team from Google had visited a few days ago to discuss “an innovative street addressing system”.
“A team from Google Plus Codes visited the Deputy Mayor, Musa Bah, and KMC staff to share their ideas for launching a unique numeric-based address system for residents of Kanifing,” it said.
Kanifing Municipal Council@PublicKmc
Google visits KMC on innovative street addressing system. A team from Google Plus Codes visited the Deputy Mayor, Musa Bah, and KMC staff to share their ideas for launching a unique numeric-based address system for residents of Kanifing.
1:16 PM – Nov 15, 2019
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KMC is where my office is based – and it is the most densely populated urban area in the small West African nation.
Nearly a quarter of the country’s population live in the KMC. The city of Serekunda, which is in KMC, has 10 times the population of the capital, Banju..
I dare to dream: You will soon be able to write to me at an address!