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Saturday, September 3, 2022

The Zip Code System in Cameroon

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Cameroon is one of those countries that are not yet properly structured by zip codes. There are no zip codes for different towns and localities as it is in other countries. In Cameroon, we all use the umbrella zip code 00237 for all areas in the country.

So,…

The zip code for Cameroon is 00237
The zip code for Douala is 00237
The zip code for Yaounde is 00237
The zip code for Bamenda is 00237
The zip code for Bafoussam is 00237
The zip code for Buea is 00237
The zip code for Limbe is 00237
The zip code for Maroua is 00237
The zip code for Garoua is 00237
The zip code for Ngaoundere is 00237
The zip code for Ebolowa is 00237
The zip code for Bertoua is 00237
The zip code for Kumba is 00237

What is a zip code

The term “ZIP” in ZIP Code stands for “Zone Improvement Plan”. It was first implemented in the United States of America in 1963 by the United States Postal Service (USPS). It is a 5-digit code allocated to a particular area that aids the American postal service, (USPS) to deliver letters.

Many countries have their own postal system names used as the zip code is used in the US. In India, it is called “Postal Index Numbers”, in Ireland, it is called “Eircode”, and in Czechia, it is called “Postal Routing Numbers”.

Importance of the “zip code” system

[Zip code in quotes as an umbrella term as other countries use different appellations for the term.]

Countries use the “zip code” system to manage address locations in the country for their purposes.

As letters and mail still remain in use in all countries, zip codes help to guide the delivery of these mails.

Is a zip code system important for Cameroon?

This is opinionated. One system that works well for one country may not work well for another country. If Cameroon has an efficient system that they use in place of the 5-digit that the US uses, then great. If not, then Cameroon has to start doing some structuring and sectioning to invent a system that will work for them.

How does Cameroon thrive without having zip codes for different locations?

As Cameroon does not have a zip code system, they have a centralised post box system and two other traditional systems that help people resolve locations.

The Post Box system

Like most other countries, the Cameroon Postal Services gives businesses of different towns a particular post box number. Mails received in these boxes are mostly not delivered. The businesses go to the post office and retrieve their mails from their boxes.

Mails that are delivered are mostly mails going to, particularly well-known businesses or government structures.

City address system

Typically, when a mail is sent in Cameroon, as most businesses and homes do not own post box numbers, a description of the location of the destination is mentioned on the envelope. An example could be – To: Mr. John Ngowo, ETS. Buy and Sell, behind Ecobank Bonaberi Douala.

Such mails will only be delivered if you use a custom postal service in Cameroon. There are small businesses that handle such deliveries.

Google maps

Here comes the saviour. Google with its maps has helped resolve a portion of the address problems in Cameroon. Businesses now use Google maps to locate their business making it easy for deliveries to be done.

Why are you asked to provide a zip code?

Typically, you were applying for something in a developed country like the United States and they asked that you locate yourself according to their zip code system. They assume that you are there in the United States or you are in a country that has a 5-digit zip code system. The second assumption is not always probable.

How can zip codes finally get implemented in Cameroon?

If zip codes will finally be implemented in Cameroon is something that is not very probable or even if it will be, then it may take some long time.

In Cameroon, there is a way things happen (not easy to explain). Important things are neglected while fancy and less needed things are taken as national projects.

A pathfinder, ice breaker, a daring creator may come up with a formula to implement a proper address system in Cameroon. Likely it would be a delivery company that will come up with a simple way to resolve the addresses of each home while they do deliveries. This company or smart person can then share their system with other delivery companies which may then be adopted (if it is simple enough) at least informally.

Who is responsible for providing zip codes for different countries

The government of each country has the responsibility to implement zip code systems (or however they choose to call them) where they govern. But we will not wait for the government to implement something we find important to us. We will resolve the issue the way we think fit else we may just be waiting for the rest of our lives.

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