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Yoti blogs about last mile delivery challenges of digital identity in developing regions


Biometrics are generally seen as a good way to avoid fraud and easily verify identity in South East Asia, and clinicians in Africa wonder if digitizing the identification process could speed up the delivery of health services, according to a pair of blog posts by Yoti on “digital identity in the last mile.”

The blog posts, each written by a member of Yoti’s research teams in South East Asia or Africa, present the high-level findings of research the company commissioned “to better understand digital identity needs among grassroots nonprofits in the developing world.”

Yoti’s research team in Africa interviewed organizations from several different sectors, and created an online survey to gather data from 10 different countries across the continent. One of the main findings is a varying degree of understanding about of how digital identity works. This includes a limited understanding of biometrics, with one respondent telling Yoti that fingerprints are the best method of identifying a person, because of their uniqueness and the difficulty of forging them, according to the post.

The post describes multiple important potential use cases for digital identity services in Africa, including preventing the sometimes-fatal error of duplicating immunization for infants. It also describes challenges based on the existing infrastructure, however, including a respondent who said that there is no point adopting any identity solution which requires internet connectivity, due to its scarcity.

The company’s research in seven countries in South East Asia likewise showed that paper identity documents are causing problems and creating a ready market for digital identity. Researchers were told that bad ID solutions are holding back promising projects, but also that concerns about the risk of misuse of central repositories of information are common in the region. These concerns are similar to the concerns about commercial exploitation of identity which are common to the region, and to the world’s most developed economies.

Yoti launched a digital ID card for young people in the UK earlier this year with CitizenCard.

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