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The Commonwealth Digital Identity Initiative

Over 230 million women and girls across the Commonwealth do not have access to official identity.
Mobile can help bridge the gap.

Through the Commonwealth Digital Identity Initiative, the GSMA Digital Identity programme is partnering with the World Bank ID4D programme and Caribou Digital to help make progress in providing a digitally-enabled identity for every woman and girl in the Commonwealth by 2030.

GSMA’s work will include research on the unique barriers that women and girls face when accessing or using identity systems, delivering projects that test new approaches to overcoming these barriers, and providing advocacy support to countries to bridge the gap on inclusive digital identity systems.

This work is being supported by:

Proof of identity is fundamental to a person’s ability to access basic services such as mobile connectivity, health and education, secure fair work and pay, or participate fully in society and democracy.

For this reason, UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.9 has set a specific target to provide legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030.

  • Subscribe to mobile services

  • Open a bank or mobile money account

  • Attend school

  • Collect social security

  • Seek legal protection



This chart shows the percentage of people without legal proof of identity in the countries listed.
Source: World Bank

The World Bank estimates that one billion people worldwide lack the means to prove their identity, and 50% of this population live in Commonwealth countries.

This chart shows the percentage of people without legal proof of identity in the countries listed.
Source: World Bank

In low-income countries, over 45% of women do not own an official proof of identity, compared to 30% of men. Women are also less likely than men to use their ID to access services in their own name.

0%
0%

There are over 230 million women and girls in Commonwealth countries lacking access to official identity.

Sub-Saharan Africa
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MILLION
Asia
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MILLION
the Pacific
0
MILLION
Americas/Caribbean
0
MILLION

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Exploring the Gender Gap in Identification


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57% of the women and girls without ID in the Commonwealth live in one of the three countries: Nigeria, Pakistan or India.

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Roadmap for Digital Birth Registration


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Download the latest reports

Our partners:


ID makes me

Proof of identity carries a range of emotional and practical benefits, defining owners as ‘citizens’ and making many adopters feel ‘proud’ or ‘confident’.

As developing countries are digitally transforming their economies, digital identities will help define women and girls as ‘citizens’, ‘empowered’, ‘connected’, ‘respected’ and ‘protected’. We’re working to bring the emotional and practical benefits of ID to all women and girls. The mothers, sisters, daughters, the unemployed, the underserved, everyone.

Across the world proof of identity allows people to be connected, included, free to travel, employed and confident.

Tell us your story. How does identity make you feel?

Use the hashtag #IDMakesMe to get involved