How digital mapping is boosting Ghana’s e-commerce and ride-sharing businesses

Tech savvy Ghanaians are increasingly using the service

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Businessmen rather complain about problems with power shortages, talent recruitment and corruption.

However, logistics infrastructure is one of the debilitating factors pulling down the smooth running of businesses in Ghana particularly in Lagos, the nation’s commercial hub.

Already the country's road network is poor and serves a congested city with limited urban planning, particularly in residential been used decades without maintenance.

This poor nature of roads have made even the most basic home delivery business in Ghana require a very hand-on local approach.

Trying to locate an address in most cities in Ghana typically involves stopping and asking for directions several times. This is because of everything from inconsistent house numbering to a lack of street names. The lack of comprehensive mapping has been a challenge for modern local businesses in e-commerce like Jumia and ride-sharing companies like Uber.

Even Ghana’s postal service’s operations have been hobbled. Few Ghanaians currently receive mail at home.

But over the past year, digital mapping technology, like Google Maps, have become viable alternatives to help fix that problem.

Google’s Maps service has proven popular among millennials in Ghana. Some believe that the increase in popularity is linked to the ride hailing companies operating in major cities.

Digital mapping has also come in handy for delivery for delivery personnel of e-commerce companies who benefit by completing more orders and improving their margins. Back in the early days, deliveries made by agent often proved “terrible” for deliverymen “who were not familiar” with several parts of town.

Google recently stepped up the service as it launched its Street View feature in Lagos. The feature will allow users to virtually view “10,000 kilometers of imagery” across the city in real time.

Ghana’s postal service (GhanaPost) is also looking to up its efficiency by leveraging on digital mapping system which simplifies addresses to reach their target. It hopes to increase its delivery to homes in the country in the coming years.

Analysts believe that companies unable to depend on the national post service in the past, resorted to setting up in-house delivery companies.

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