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Digital ID in Africa this week: International Identity Day, biometric electoral rolls on display in Ghana


NIMC- Nigeria National ID Card - Africa biometric digital identity verification

The International Identity Day concept which was born of the ID4Africa movement gains significant ground as Nigeria becomes the first country in the world to officially adopt it for September 16. Nigeria continues to progress with its ID scheme by signing up thousands of migrants. The country may even be seeing increased tax receipts as a result of the overall program. Despite rights groups campaigning for tighter legislation and privacy protection in Kenya, a UN report shows its internet users are the least concerned in the world when it comes to privacy, while in Ghana the updated electoral rolls are on display for public scrutiny. The potentially most significant news of the week comes from the DRC which is planning to launch a biometric population register. We’ve tackled this story in its own article.

Global: African nations recognizing call to make September 16 International Identity Day

At least ten African nations have announced that they will hold commemoration activities on Monday September 16 with the hopes for a future global recognition of International Identity Day. Along with Central African Republic, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Lesotho, Niger, Senegal, Somalia and Uganda, Nigeria has become the first in the world to officially recognize the day. Dozens of other nations and organizations such as the World Bank, UNDP and Biometric Update have joined the coalition which promotes the importance of ID and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.9 (hence 16 September) of a right to legal ID.

Tanzania: Lawmakers discuss penalties for telcos and users of unregistered SIMs

Lawmakers in Tanzanian capital Dodoma have recommended moves that would protect citizens from legal punishments of fines and prison sentences for using SIMs that have not been biometrically registered, reports Tanzania’s The Guardian.

Members of the Tanzania Parliamentary Committee for Legal and Constitutional Affairs recommended a stepdown from the current bill which states fines of 5 million-shilling fines ($2,175) or prison sentences of up to 12 months or both for those using unregistered SIMs.

The politicians reiterated that many Tanzanians do not yet have the documents necessary for biometric registration and that telcos should bear responsibility and legal repercussions for unregistered SIM usage rather than citizens who may not understand the situation. Registration has been extended until December 31 2019.

Kenya: UN survey shows Kenyans least concerned about internet privacy safety

Only four in 10 Kenyan internet users are concerned about the security of their personal data online according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), reports The Daily Nation.

The global average is eight out of 10.

The survey suggests that their low level of concern could make Kenyans vulnerable to cyber crimes and hacks, but within the national context of the Huduma Namba ID scheme, which some opponents criticize as a widespread theft of citizens’ data, this news is likely to be highly concerning. Kenya does not have a data protection law and rights advocacy groups are still calling for the public to demand more protections.

Nigeria: Immigration service begins large-scale e-registration of foreign nationals

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has launched its e-registration for foreigners in Kwara State, bordering Benin, one of the eight states to kick off the scheme, reports Premium Times.

The exercise aims to biometrically register all foreign nationals over 18 years old who have been in the country for over 90 days. There is currently a six-month amnesty for foreign migrants to register. The scheme aims to curb crime and aid planning.

Another report by Premium Times states that the NIS head office in Abuja is also registering foreign nationals and has registered 2,100 in its first two months. The procedure, with collaboration from PWC, requires migrants to present themselves in person with ID for biometric capture.

Ghana: Updated electoral roll on display for public appraisal

Following Ghana’s latest biometric voter registration exercise, all 30,702 polling stations will display their new electoral roles from September 10 to 17, reports Ghana Business News. The 1.2 million new registrations from the 2019 exercise bring the total to 17 million. Voters can check their details and request amendments though significant changes will require biometric verification. People can also request the removal of deceased relatives by presenting a death certificate.

Updates, links and news in brief

Link – DRC: Our coverage of the planned launch of a biometric population register by 2020.

Brief – Rwanda: Japan’s NEC signs an MoU with Rwanda’s ICT Minister, Paula Ingabire, to accelerate the Safer City project.

Brief – Nigeria: National ID authority NIMC to take over the biometric verification for students taking university entrance exams (JAMB).

Opinion – South Africa: Why biometric tech is key to the digital transformation of South African banks.

Link – Nigeria/World Bank: Our coverage on the World Bank’s $433m funding to register 100 million Nigerians for ID in the next three years.

Update – Yoti: UK identity tech company Yoti announces its digital ID fellows.

Brief – Rwanda: At the World Economic Forum meetings in Cape Town, there was mention that Rwanda is setting up a comprehensive digital platform for government services that would work on any mobile via USSD

Link – South Africa: Our coverage of Invixium’s distribution deal.

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