Rwanda to introduce new eID card

May 25, 2016 - 

Rwanda announced on Tuesday at the ID4Africa Forum and exposition in Kigali that it will roll-out an integrated eID card in July.

eID is a government-issued document for online and offline identification. The typical electronic identity card has the format of a regular bank card, with printed identity information on the surface, such as personal details and a photograph, as well as an embedded microchip.

Rwanda will use an eID card with an embedded 64-kilobyte chip to integrate multiple details, including health insurance and driver license data.

Pascal Nyamulinda, Director General of the Rwandan National Identification Agency noted during the opening session of the event that: “With the commitment of the government, development agencies, IT solution providers and domain experts, Africa will move from the old civil identification systems to implement modern IT schemes and applications. The use of such systems will allow identity to unlock programs of social protection, healthcare and mobile payments.”

An eID is more reliable than paper-based ID because it provides more data security with built-in privacy features. The use of digital signatures makes it harder or even impossible to make a forged ID as the duplicate ones would invalidate existing digital signatures.

A citizen with an eID has the ability to use it or various different services, thus making the card multi-purposed. One of the unique aspects of the eID is its ability to authenticate the holder not only in the real world, but also in the virtual world. eID enables it holders to authenticate themselves securely when using an online service, while protecting their privacy.

Nyamulinda made the eID card announcement before introducing Francis Kaboneka, Rwanda’s Minister of Local Government, at the event’s opening session.

Apart from online authentication, eID cards can provide users with the option to sign electronic documents with a digital signature or both government and private transactions. An eID is designed to be a trusted authentication mechanism for citizens and businesses to identify themselves in order to electronically access services from across government.

Rwanda made the announcement during the opening session of the ID4Africa event, which it hosted in Kigali. The aim of the ID4Africa event is to bring governments together to share experiences and establish real world best practices that set the correct expectations for what is involved in launching successful identity programs. The ID4Africa Movement bills itself as a multi-stakeholder movement that promotes the transparent and responsible adoption of digital ID management in the service of development in Africa.

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BiometricUpdate.com was the official journalist for the 2016 forum and exposition.

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About Rawlson King

Rawlson O’Neil King is a contributing editor at BiometricUpdate.com and is an experienced communications professional, management consultant, trade journalist and author who recently published a book about control and electronic networks and who has written numerous articles in trade publications and academic journals about smart home and building technologies. Follow him @rawlsonking2.