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How Trulioo plans to help verify hundreds of millions of West Africans

Categories Biometrics News  |  ID for All  |  In Depth
How Trulioo plans to help verify hundreds of millions of West Africans

Canadian identity verification firm Trulioo is extending its coverage to Ghana and Nigeria, allowing businesses to establish the identity of over two hundred million people. Both West African states have made great efforts to roll out national ID schemes with a view to greater social and economic inclusion, but Trulioo’s GlobalGateway verification platform can pull in data from hundreds of sources to help businesses establish an individual’s identity.

Trulioo’s Senior VP of Product, Rob Hartley, explained to Biometric Update how the platform will operate in the countries which have low levels of formal identity.

“If an individual does not possess a birth certificate or driver’s license, there are other data points and sources that can be considered to verify the individual’s identity, such as mobile number, passport, consumer and government data,” he said in an email interview. “Our marketplace model allows for clients to determine the verification match rules, based on specific data points and sources they want to check against.”

The two latest countries added to Trulioo’s coverage present various challenges for their citizens proving who they are and businesses verifying that, as Hartley explains: “In Ghana, only 62 percent of the country’s adults own a financial account, and in Nigeria only 44 percent of adults own a financial account. One of the key barriers cited preventing access is the lack of ID documentation.”

This lack of state-issued ID presents a huge barrier to both individuals and businesses which need to know who they are dealing with.

“Without traditional forms of ID, citizens face significant challenges opening a bank account, transferring money or accessing any other type of basic financial services,” said Hartley, “Financial institutions are very reluctant to do business with citizens who lack a trusted identity. Unfortunately, this remains a far-too-common scenario in much of sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria and Ghana.”

The verification provided by Trulioo should enable more businesses to be compliant and tackle money laundering, and allow businesses and individuals alike to access services such as banking and to start building credit.

Data privacy is becoming an increasingly contentious issue in African countries and Nigeria itself is struggling to get its data protection commission off the ground. The location of where data is held is similarly controversial, most recently in Senegal. According to Hartley, “Trulioo does not store data. We provide organizations with secure access to data sources for the sole purpose of identity verification so that consumers may access the services they need and want.”

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