News Flash: New Partnership Supports Digital ID in Africa

November 23, 2018

Blog

The Economic Commission for Africa and the Omidyar Network seek to build official expertise

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Omidyar Network, an investment firm, announced a partnership to support the roll out of digital identities in Africa. The partnership intends to establish a centre of excellence on digital identity and data privacy, while developing the capabilities of senior officials in this area.

The ECA said the programme will also focus on mechanisms for regional harmonisation, such as Europe’s electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services (eIDAS), how to use digital identity to accelerate service delivery, governance, data privacy, cyber security; and the relationship between civil registries and digital identity.

“An estimated 500 million people in Africa have no official ID, and in many ways, the lack of robust identification, which is underpinned by a poor civil registration and vital statistics system on the continent has contributed to marginalization and exclusion of many,” said ECA’s Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, adding that digital ID is an important enabler for access to social and political services, as well as financial and economic inclusion. “It would go a long way towards preventing vote rigging in elections, reducing leaks in the management of government payroll as well as social intervention programmes and improving access of the poor, to financial services.”

Magdi Amin, Investment Partner at Omidyar Network, added: “The goal is that residents of Senegal and Chad will be able to transact with residents of Zambia and Mauritius without friction, with trust, and without requiring that they meet physically. This will create an African Digital Common Market.”

For more details, see the press release on the ECA web site

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