5-speed listening (Level 6)

Ivory Coast gets three-word postal addresses



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Ivory Coast has adopted a revolutionary new system of postal addresses that contain just three words. It means that for the first time ever, everyone in the country will be able to receive mail to their house or office. Up until now, people had to rely on post office boxes. There were only 150,000 of these nationwide and people had to rent them, which meant poorer people found it difficult to receive 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 in Ivory Coast. We have to make postal access available to everyone." He said the three-word addresses would move Ivory Coast into the digital age.

The Ivory Coast's new postal system is based on the what3words.com geo-mapping system. Its software has divided the world into a grid of 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares, each assigned a unique 3-word address. The software uses latitude and longitude coordinates to precisely pinpoint a location on a global address network. The 22 numbers from these coordinates are converted into three easy to remember words that replace house numbers, street and city names and zip codes. A what3words.com spokesperson said: "Poor addressing might seem no more than annoying in some countries, but around the world, it hampers the growth and development of nations, ultimately costing lives."

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