High-level Digital Identification Meeting to be Held

Addis Ababa November 16/2018 A high-level digital identification meeting will be held to discuss opportunities, risks and lessons in the African context, according to Economic Commission for Africa.

In a statement it issued yesterday, the commission said the meeting will take place on the margins of the Extraordinary AU Summit to discuss opportunities, risks and lessons for Digital ID in the African context.

The statement quoted ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe as saying that “Africa cannot continue to make policy in the blind because we do not have the data on our people. As we have seen from countries like India, the benefits of digital identification are immense and these include political and economic inclusion.”

She added that the organization and its partners have embarked on a digital ID initiative to support the harmonization and implementation of digital identification platforms in Africa.

According to the statement, the digital ID will enhance inclusion on the continent as well as to facilitate trade in the context of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and member states are working on the initiative to define the minimum requirements for the establishment of Digital ID platforms in African countries to maximize benefits for country and continental aspirations while minimizing associated risks.

Safeguarding data security and ownership as well as universal coverage, interoperability across other systems and across countries while respecting country sovereignty and among others will be ensured, it was pointed out.

The Digital ID Initiative will be harmonized with other ongoing work on the continent such as Legal ID and Civil Registration and Vital Statistics, which together form foundational identity systems.

Discussions are ongoing with the World Bank Group, the Africa Development Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation as potential technical and funding partners for the initiative.