5-speed listening (Level 5)

Ivory Coast gets three-word postal addresses






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Ivory Coast has changed to a new postal system. It is using addresses that contain just three words. For the first time ever, everyone in the country will be able to get mail at their house. Up until now, people used post office boxes. Poorer people found it difficult to get mail. The head of Ivory Coast's post office told the BBC: "We have 150,000 PO boxes for a population of nearly 24 million. That means a postal address is a luxury….We have to make postal access available to everyone." He said the three-word addresses would move Ivory Coast into the digital age.

The new postal system is based on the what3words.com geo-mapping system. It divided the world into a grid of 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares, each with a unique 3-word address. The software uses latitude and longitude coordinates to pinpoint a location. The 22 numbers from these coordinates are changed into three easy to remember words. These replace house numbers, street and city names and zip codes. A what3words.com spokesperson said: "Poor addressing…around the world…hampers the growth and development of nations, ultimately costing lives."

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