Priorities of identity for development in Africa to be debated at ID4Africa 2020

Details on the agenda for the upcoming ID4Africa 2020 annual meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco are being shared in a series of short videos available through the organization’s media hub.

Plenary session 2 (PS2) features a pair of reports; one on digital equality and economic, social and human rights in the digital state by UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and NYU Law School Professor Philip Alston, and one on insights from the Aadhaar program by State of Aadhaar Initiative Senior Project Manager Dr. Petra Sonderegger.

Following the reports, the report findings will be debated by a panel of renowned experts including Togo Minister of Posts, Digital Economy and Technological Advancements Cina Lawson, ID4Africa Identity Council President and Director General of Guinea’s ANGEIE Mory Camara, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNECA Dr. Vera Songwe, World Bank ID4D Program Manager Vyjayanti Desai, UNICEF Director and Global Chief of Child Protection Cornelius Williams, and UNDP Policy Advisor and Project Manager for Legal Identity Niall McCann.

Camara, Songwe, and Williams have each shared their perspective on the continent’s identity systems with Biometric Update over the past year.

“What follows is a no-holds-barred debate on the priorities of identity for development in Africa,” explains ID4Africa Executive Chairman Dr. Joseph Atick in the video.

“I expect this to be a heated debate, as not everyone agrees on the answer to this important question,” he continues. Atick will moderate the debate.

The first plenary session of the 2020 event will feature presentations from Director Generals of African countries, or their high-level representatives, on their progress towards delivering legal identity for digital services. Programs currently underway in Morocco, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoir, Ghana, and Tanzania will be discussed, along with planned programs in Ethiopia and Guinea, as explained in another video.

ID4Africa 2020’s theme of “ID360: Digital Multiplicity of Unique Identity” is explained in the first video of the series. The theme emphasizes the desirability of a foundational identity establishing each person’s existence and uniqueness without providing access to information about all of the person’s digital behavior. Atick notes that the possession of multiple digital identities is highly likely in a connected society, and says it should not be a routine possibility for people’s actions to be consolidated in a centralized record, in order to protect personal privacy.

Biometric Update is serving as the Official Journalist of ID4Africa 2020 and will provide coverage of the flagship event from live on location for the fifth consecutive year. Registration opened on February 11.

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