Digital identity case studies from Africa and Latin America

Hacer click aquí para leer este artículo en español.

As the digital identity space continues to grow, new ideas and technologies continue to emerge which are enabling people to prove their identity, from simple solutions involving computerising records to more complex solutions involving mobile phones, blockchain or even biometrics. Whilst the solutions that are emerging in developed markets tend to focus on improving security, privacy and ease of use, those in the developing market are looking at how the use of a digital identity can empower people, who may previously have lacked an identity, and allow them to access a wider range of services.

The growth of mobile phone ownership, particularly in developing countries, has made it a natural component in a number of the new digital identity solutions that are emerging. Particularly those solutions that are trying to address the identity gap, the 1 billion people worldwide who lack the means to prove their identity[1]. The GSMA Digital Identity team has previously highlighted mobile birth registration initiatives developed in conjunction with mobile operators that have emerged, notably in Tanzania and Pakistan. In this case study, however, we look at two start-ups that are using mobile technology to establish functional and foundational identities in the Caribbean and Burkina Faso, and look at how those could be developed to provide people with further access to services.

Digital identity case study in the Caribbean

In the Caribbean, whilst access to identity proof is quite high, access to an account at a financial institution is relatively low, compared to the global average, due to the high prevalence of cash based transactions, which make proving income and credit history difficult. Given this, and the fact that as an additional consequence pre-paid phone ownership levels are also very high, Juvo’s Flow Lend solution is helping Cable & Wireless pre-paid mobile customers to establish a financial (functional) identity. Juvo’s solution works by using a combination of data science and game mechanics to analyse mobile phone usage (through a partnership with Cable & Wireless) and predict customer behaviour. Each customer is assigned a Juvo ‘identity score’ and given access to an airtime credit extension based on that score (a low score translates to a lower value airtime credit extension). Each credit extension that is repaid on time adds to the identity picture that is being built and in turn contributes to improving the Juvo identity score. Over time this enables customers to access larger value airtime credit extensions whilst contributing to building a financial identity for a previously anonymous pre-paid subscriber. To date the solution has enabled over $25 million in airtime credit extensions, increased consumption of Cable and Wireless services by 10% and increased loyalty for the Cable and Wireless brand.

Digital identity case study in Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso, where 2.3 million children under the age of 18 remain unregistered, iCivil has developed an innovative solution to simplify and digitise the birth registration process to enable more children to be registered at more locations around the country. iCivil has produced a hospital bracelet, manufactured with a unique bubble tag and QR code, which is attached to newborn babies by a health professional. Courtesy of the iCivil mobile app, the QR code and unique bubble tag can be scanned, bringing up a digital registration form where the birth details can be entered and updated. The registration details are then forwarded to the national birth registry for verification and, once verified and registration is complete, the birth certificate can be collected by presenting the iCivil bracelet.

Both solutions highlight new areas where mobile is being used to enable people who may previously have been excluded from basic services, due to a lack of identity, to prove who they are either through a functional or financial digital identity.
Download the case study

Download the case study (Español)
[1] ID4D World Bank 2018

This initiative is currently funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and supported by the GSMA and its members.