The administration of Rwanda’s capital city Kigali recently undertook an immense task: labeling all city streets and edifices. Today the city is far more navigable, with street signs and prominent numbering on every building. As a result, Kigali now has a real address registry, among the most basic administrative data.

One of the unexpected benefits of this development has been a boom in household services. Yes, household services.

Delivery pizza is now available as are DHL pick up and delivery, postal service to the home (rather than to a PO box at the post office) and taxis that can pick up passengers from an address. There is even a new mobile app from a group of restaurants that offers a range of food, delivered right to residents’ doorsteps.

As for the administrative applications of the exercise, new housing statistics can now be properly registered. The registry is also geo-referenced and so it can be used statistically during censuses. But for the people and small businesses cropping following the labeling of the city, this newly available data has created opportunities and granted access to goods and services that were only dreamed of just a few years ago. Administrative data is development data.

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