Adapting Modern ICTs to the Spatial and Cultural Environment of Urban Africa : The Experience of Cameroon

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Cameroon, GPS, Information and communication technologies (ICTs), Navigation in built space and Syncretism


Navigation-facilitating information and communication technologies, especially personal navigation devices (PNDs), are commonplace, and account for a significant share of the GDP, in developed countries. However, their utility is compromised in Africa where the precise and unambiguous physical addresses necessary for their functioning are a rarity. This paper proposes a strategy that can significantly improve the functioning of these devices despite the lack of precise and unambiguous physical addresses. The strategy incorporates major aspects of African indigenous culture and tradition blended with received cultural practices. Cameroon serves as the empirical referent. The paper identifies specific benefits of facilitating geospatial navigation including economic value of journey time savings, environmental protection via reduced carbon emissions, cost savings resulting from reduced fuel consumption, and improved efficiency for entities involved in door-to-door service/goods delivery.

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African Review of Economics and Finance, v. 9, issue 2, p. 233-254