Identity companies at ID4Africa expo hall embrace Africa’s challenges and opportunity
With approximately 45 percent of the world’s 1.1 billion people without legal identity living in Africa, according to new World Bank statistics, the opportunity for companies in biometrics and the broader identity ecosystem are clear. The challenges are also well known, with lack of electricity, digital infrastructure, political will, and budget, along with other challenges present in different combinations and degrees in each country.
Over 90 companies are exhibiting their technical answers to these challenges in the expo hall of ID4Africa 2017 in Windhoek, Namibia, May 26 to 28, up almost 50 percent from the 2016 event, demonstrating the commercial will to support the deployment of critically needed digital identity systems.
“This has become the biggest show globally for border control,” secunet Area Sales Director, Homeland Security Division Christian Rutigliano told Biometric Update. The process is a marathon, however, he said, and only those companies prepared to take the long view will provide benefit to government clients, and reap the associated revenues.
Border control is just one area of focus among the companies present at ID4Africa, along with the civil registration, financial inclusion, electoral systems, and delivery of social services such as health care.
Biometrics companies including Cognitec, Aware and Neurotechnology, Vision-Box, Jenetric, Integrated Biometrics, Laxton, BioRugged, Dermalog, Iris ID, and Suprema are well represented at the forum.
Some of the industry’s leading organizations present, including Zetes, Arjo Systems, Gemalto, Safran Morpho, HID, X INFOTECH, GenKey, NEC, and De La Rue also work with software and hardware from other companies present in the expo hall, allowing prospective government clients a chance to explore the different options they can build into custom solutions. This opportunity reflects ID4Africa’s theme of “Pathways to Digital Identity,” which emphasizes the important differences in national contexts into which the systems serving the common goal of identity programs must fit.
Which of these companies will lead the African market in supplying secure digital identification is uncertain, but the interest and competition are both in strong supply at ID4Africa 2017.