News Flash: Green Light for Nigeria’s Digital ID project

The World Bank agrees to co-fund initiative to issue 150 million national ID numbers

The World Bank has approved Nigeria’s Digital Identification for Development Project, which aims to increase the number of people with a national identification number (NIN) to 150 million in the next three years.  The project is co-financed through a credit of US$115 million from the World Bank’s International Development Association, US$100 million from the French Development Agency, and US$215 million from the European Investment Bank. 

The World Bank said the initiative will support the efforts of the National Identity Management Commission to enable people in Nigeria, especially marginalised groups, to use the NIN to access welfare-enhancing services. It will also aim to enhance the ID system’s legal and technical safeguards to protect individuals’ personal data and privacy. “The World Bank is carefully targeting its support on high impact projects as [Nigeria] works to tackle corruption and lift 100 million of its people out of poverty,” said David Malpass, president of the World Bank Group, which is also supporting five further development projects in Nigeria.

At the same time, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is planning to require consumers to present a NIN to register a new SIM card, according to a report by Developing Telecoms. Each person will be restricted to a maximum of three SIM cards and no unregistered SIMs will be allowed on mobile networks, the report added.  Citing regional news reports, the article also said that Zamtel, the state-owned operator in Zambia, is asking all of its mobile subscribers to re-register their personal information, along with biometric data, in order to combat telecoms fraud and cybercrime.

To read the World Bank press release click here and to read the Developing Telecoms article click here.