Ivorians generally describe their locations based on surroundings: they’ll mention a few specific landmarks or reference points, and their location vis-à-vis those sites. So, Mahali, a startup aiming to solve the problem in order to boost African e-commerce, decided to use this method of descriptive addresses to help facilitate deliveries. Mahali, which means “place” in Swahili, is currently part of Orange’s Intrapreneur program, an incubation branch for innovative ideas. (The Mahali team is split between France and Abidjan, the county’s largest city, where the employees help to co-develop the tech but can also deploy the testing.) That connection allows the startup to solve another security holdup, payment, by integrating the network’s already trusted mobile money service, Orange Money. Buyers then have the choice, upon delivery, of paying via Orange Money or cash. The team hopes that, once the system is proved in Ivory Coast, it could be extended to facilitate in other areas, such as emergency services. And, it hopes to expand to other sub-Saharan countries, including Cameroon, Senegal, and Mali. A recent report noted that four billion people worldwide don’t have fixed addresses, suggesting there’s certainly room for the service all over the developing world.
SOURCE: FAST COMPANY