Somalia launching foundational biometric identity program

Somalia launching foundational biometric identity program

Somalian government officials met recently with officials from the World Bank, USAID, and other development partners to discuss the progress of the Somali National Identity Program, Radio Dalsan reports. The program aims to provide a foundational identification system for delivery of services by the Somalian government, civil society, development partners, and the private sector based on biometrics.

Dr. Nur Dirie Hersi Fursade, Chief Strategists in the Office of the President of Somalia, said that his office plans to establish a new federal agency to manage the new identification system. He also provided further information about a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently signed between the government and Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), which brings experience in implementing ID software for use in rural areas and in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The Somali Government is rapidly developing governance structures that will be able to respond to citizen needs,” said Dr. Nur. “Parallel to these developments, we need to make sure that Somali citizens and eligible residents are provided with identification credentials, which will enable access to vital services including aid and money transfer services. Implemented in this way, the new ID system acts as an effective and neutral entry point for addressing the effects of the global de-risking agenda by the Somali authorities.”

The new system is intended to link government identification with eKYC systems for verification of financial services customers, and support the coordination of social protection programs, such as cash grants. Government IDs will also be used to support effective security processes and fair elections.

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) recently began a deployment of fingerprint readers to Somalian ports of entry to assist with the country’s border management efforts.

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