National Addressing System to spur e-commerce in Kenya

The proposed National Addressing System which will provide an improved addressing and high-quality address data for all physical properties and development, thereby enhancing ease of identification and subsequently boost e-commerce in Kenya.

While addressing the second stakeholders workshop on the National Addressing System (NSA) held in Nairobi on October 24, ICT CS Joseph Mucheru sais that with the ease of quickly locating properties comes the benefit of other government and emergency services.

“With NAS fully in place, giving directions to emergency and rescue services will be a pretty easy and fast.  Every Wanjiku, Onyango and Fatimah will no longer give directions with references to a tree or an electric pole or a shop at some corner,” said Mucheru, adding:

“With this system, the opportunities that will open up from an e-commerce perspective are endless.  Online retailers like Rupu, Jumia and OLX will now be able to offer door to door deliveries.  Cab hailing services like Uber, LittleCabs and Dandia will be able to locate their passengers with more precision, while food deliveries and supermarket grocery shopping will be made a lot easier.”

The second workshop was a followup to the first meeting which was convened  on March 18 this year to kick start NAS process – including putting in place a steering committee and developing a roadmap with a comprehensive plan of action.

CS Mucheru added that the new efficient addressing will not just benefit the formal sector but even informal businesses as well thereby expanding tax avenues for the government .

“These explosions will not be just for the formal trade segments.  Mama mbogas, the guy that sells clothes at Toi market and the mama usafis at the local neighborhoods will be able to develop on-call services that will be enabled by the addressing systems.  All these e-commerce explosions will mean more time saved by people and more revenue by KRA. But even beyond increased revenue collections from the exploded e-commerce opportunities, KRA will also increase their tax base because the system will make it easy for them to easily identify businesses and the precise locations,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, Communications Commission of Kenya (CA) director general Francis Wangusi reiterated the CS’ comments, noting that the Authority is prioritizing the coordination of the development of a NAS as part of its statutory mandate that includes the development of information and communication sector and electronic commerce.

“According to Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) statistics, the value of Business to Citizen (B2C) transactions globally is valued at about US $1.2 trillion whereas that of Business-to-Business (B2B) is at US $15 trillion. UPU further acknowledges that e-commerce offers high potential for growth in developing countries, which is evident by the segment’s fast growth being mainly driven by Asia and Africa”, said Wangusi.

CA received technical assistance from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to support the roll out of this national critical infrastructure as well as advice on the proper methodology of establishing an effective NAS.


The next phase is for the CA to identify and contract a consultant who will develop the necessary standards and guidelines that will drive the process in accordance with international recognized practices. This approach is key to ensure a coordinated rollout of an addressing system that is anchored on a common national framework.

The NAS system, once complete, is also expected to bring M-Post, PCK’s virtual postal service to full circle, enabling Kenyans to get letters and parcels picked and dropped from their doorsteps using cell numbers, anywhere in the country.


A NAS is a framework that provides for the naming and numbering of streets and properties (buildings/parcels of land) to facilitate easy identification and location of such places on the ground (within an area). It involves the development of digitized maps and is critical to the quality and cost-effective provision of innumerable services provided by multiple levels of government and supporting commerce in both urban and rural areas. It is an essential requirement for a variety of functions, including emergency management, as well as administration, research, publications, mapping, routing, navigation, facilitation of e-commerce and many other purposes.




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