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Accenture and Word Bank release report on universal ID


Today, Accenture and the World Bank released a report to help developing nations create universal ID management systems. The report notes that over 1.8 billion adults in developing countries currently lack an official ID and therefore have no access to essential services.

The report (PDF), released at the annual e-ID conference in Washington, D.C., identifies a comprehensive strategy and implementation roadmap for developing nations seeking to build, or expand citizen identity programs, regardless of their country’s level of technology infrastructure.

Providing legal identity for all the world’s population by 2030 is a shared objective of the international community under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals project. The World Bank launched its Identification for Development (ID4D) program to assist developing countries achieve this goal.

The ID4D initiative has objectives to ensure that all adults have a robust form of legal identity and to promote universal birth registration so that children can obtain legal identity. Currently, 650 million children do not have identification. The initiative is also designed to ensure that civil identification systems are interoperable with social and other programs and to facilitate citizens’ access to economic opportunities including access to employment and finance. According to the UN, at least 500 million people worldwide cannot open bank accounts due to a lack of ID.

Randeep Sudan, World Bank Practice Manager for Information and Communication Technologies, Transport and ICT Global Practice at World Bank said: “Hundreds of millions of people worldwide lack any proof of identity, barring them from receiving vital services such as healthcare, social benefits, financial services and access to voting. Unfortunately, developing countries frequently invest in identity systems that are disconnected and lack interoperability.”

“These challenges can however be overcome through increased collaboration, co-operation between countries and the use of new technologies that can help governments establish unique identities for their residents and manage national identity programs. Identity management programs should focus on poor and disadvantaged people who will benefit most from having their identities verified, and the services they need delivered regularly and speedily.”

The report from Accenture and the World Bank thus aims to guide developing nations when conceptualizing, designing and planning the implementation of national identity management programs, with a focus on being integrated, scalable and secure. The report benchmarks the identity programs of 15 developing countries against other world-class identity management systems, providing an analysis of existing registries, legal frameworks, processes and program challenges. The report also is designed to offer advice that can produce large administrative savings for citizens, government and businesses.

“We wanted a unified vision for approaching identification systems,” said Mariana Dahan, Senior ICT Policy Specialist and ID4D Coordinator, Transport and ICT Global Practice, World Bank, in an exclusive interview with BiometricUpdate.com, when explaining the rationale for the report. “We released this report because our clients in developing countries need advice. We noticed that they have many parallel systems, in terms of different registries running different programs, and these systems are not interoperable. Due to the need to help our clients integrate these systems, we were concerned there was no integrated approach. So we turned to Accenture to help develop this report.”

Working closely with the World Bank ID4D team, Accenture spent four weeks researching ways to integrate identity management system components with disparate initiatives, such as civil registry, social protection, electoral commission, and law enforcement, within a country, as well as regional integration across countries. The resulting framework benchmarked 15 countries against world-class identity management systems, identifying key gaps and ways to overcome them. The process involved examining maturity in various areas including:

• Enrolling an entire nation’s population
• Establishing shared infrastructure to support delivery of critical services
• Implementing appropriate governance structures
• Enhancing legal and regulatory frameworks
• Identifying suitable business models

Accenture defined a framework for grouping countries based on the maturity of their ID systems and then built an ID4D integration model with different strategies and roadmaps for multiple country categories.

“We were very pleased to be contracted by the World Bank to conduct this study and support the ID4D initiative that brings together stakeholders interested in identification systems,” stated Daniel Bachenheimer, Senior Manager, Accenture in an exclusive interview with BiometricUpdate.com. “The report examines how to reconcile and integrate disparate systems and responsibilities, with the vision of making every person count by ensuring unique legal identities, while supporting government delivery of digital identity-based services.”

Ger Daly, Senior Managing Director at Accenture Identity Services said: “Accenture’s extensive experience delivering biometric and identity management programs for governments, NGOs and private clients worldwide, enabled us to quickly identify accurate, convenient and cost-effective identity management solutions for governments to consider.” The report provides these governments with benchmarking, scoping, strategies and case studies.

According to the World Bank, the report should not be considered a final outcome, but a component of a continuing consultative process. The bank helps developing countries with their ID programs by providing technical assistance, advice, along with funding for specific pilots and projects. Accenture can provide developing countries with world-class identity management solutions.

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