Ethiopia, Ghana & Kenya drive Africa’s digital ID scheme growth
A policy advisor at Ethiopia’s MOSIP (Modular Open Source Identity Platform), Gabriella Abraham, has described digital identity schemes as a lever for the country’s ambitious digital economy transformation plans. These remarks come as Parliament recently okayed the legal framework for the operationalization of the scheme.
In the same vein, Ghana’s Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, speaking recently at the 2023 edition of the African Development Conference in the United States, said his country’s digital transformation efforts have been propelled largely thanks to the successful implementation of the GhanaCard digital ID scheme which has already seen cards issued to more than 17 million eligible Ghanaians.
Ethiopia digital ID proclamation explained
The recently approved draft Proclamation of the Ethiopia digital ID project has been hailed as an important factor in the effective implementation of the identity scheme.
Abraham explains the importance of the draft proclamation and the roles of the various stakeholders involved in the successful implementataion of the digital ID system. These actors, she says, are the residents, relying parties, authentication service providers and the government.
She notes that the proclamation covers a wide range of issues including registration, authentication services, the institutional framework, data security, data privacy protection, and criminal liability. It was drafted in consonance with international best practices of design, inclusion and governance, citing India as an example.
She mentions a study which finds that if properly implemented, the Ethiopia digital ID can contribute up to six percent of the country’s GDP, and improve the economy and living conditions of citizens.
The draft proclamation was approve on 30 March by the House of People’s Represenataives, as reported by FBC.
Ghana Card has solved unique ID problem in Ghana, says VP
Addressing the meeting which took place at the Harvard University, Bawumia underlined the importance of the Ghana Card saying it has solved one of the biggest problems the country has struggled with for decades since independence.
He called it “one of the most transformational projects” implemented under the country’s digitalization plan, and which has gone a long way in enhancing the digital innovation journey and advanced development undertakings, writes GhanaWeb.
The VP said already, over 17 million adults eligible for the card have had it, and there are plans to start issuing the ID to children at birth, beginning in June. The previous target for the new birth registration system was March 31.
Bawumia also spoke about the importance of data in informing critical decisions by African governments. He said data and transparent management systems are vital to meeting expected results from governance policy decisions.
Minority Pemba community in Kenya to get ID cards at last
An enrolment process is ongoing for members of the Pemba community in Kenya who have lived for decades without any legal ID. These are mostly descendants of people who settled in the community since the 1930s.
A recent report by French broadcaster France24 zooms in on the plight which the Pempa group in Kenya has suffered over the years due to lack of legal identity in the country.
The situation is however soon to change as the government in Nairobi has agreed to begin issuing them ID cards following a declaration by President William Ruto in December 2022.
The report spotlights the life of Hussein Omari Hassan, a fisherman of the community who carries out his fishing activity without any legal identification. He says he has been arrested many times by the police for lack of an ID
He explains that like him, many others can’t get any other job because they lack an official identification. They are also largely cut off from many social services, he says.
For some weeks now, Pemba leaders have been mobilizing members of the community to take part in a registration exercise for the issuance of the ID card, but there is a vetting committee which checks that all those registering actually meet the eligibility criteria.
There are believed to be over 100,000 Pemba people in Kenya. The registration is expected to run till May.
Abeeb Lekan Sodiq is a Managing Editor & Writer at theafricandream.net. He is as well a Graphics Designer and also known as Arakunrin Lekan.