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International ID Day 2021 seeks mainstream recognition with art, friends and tokenization

International ID Day 2021 seeks mainstream recognition with art, friends and tokenization

Today, September 16, is International ID Day, the day adopted by the ID4Africa Movement to promote the importance of legal identity worldwide. The date was chosen to match the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16:9 “By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.”

This year, with a theme of going beyond the core of the international identity community, ID4Africa’s main events took place yesterday to leave International ID Day itself free for national-level coverage. The livecast, hosted by ID4Africa’s executive chair, Dr. Joseph Atick, saw a live vote on an art competition, updates on national digital identity projects from Nigeria and Rwanda and a sneak peek at activities planned across Africa for the day itself.

Ahead of International ID Day, Dr. Atick spoke to Biometric Update about his plans for the movement to go mainstream and legal identity as an “existential right.”

Plans announced for national celebrations on International ID Day

Out of all national-level events, Nigeria has consistently gone biggest, creating National Identity Day for September 16, 2019 onwards. The COVID pandemic has impacted community-level celebrations, but Hadiza Ali-Dagabana from the Nigerian Identity Management Commission said they were still excited about the “long-awaited” day after last year’s cancellations.

An event will take place in the banqueting hall of the presidential villa where they will launch ID Day Magazine and three new digital identity solutions: an improved version of the mobile ID app with SIM-NIN harmonization and mobile wallet; contactless ID solutions and tokenization of the NIN to comply with upcoming legislation. The director general of NIMC also gave a presentation on the progress of Nigeria’s ID project.

Namibia is hosting a week of events to share the idea of the need for ID for all, such as a panel discussion on national TV and streamed online. On the day itself, all local radio stations as well as national television will cover the event, reaching all local languages.

DRC is marking the day with activities focusing on enrollment in the national ID system. Student ambassadors will be running local events to help the drive.

Unfortunately, while Niger is looking into the feasibility of setting up a national digital identity system, and is expecting the digitization of its civil register before the end of the month, marking the day was not deemed a priority for funding, reported Mouna Aminami, Niger’s deputy ID4Africa ambassador.

Artistically going beyond the core

To demonstrate the appetite to take identity issues to the mainstream, organizers contacted hundreds of art schools across Africa seeking entries for a competition to mark the day and its spirit. A shortlist of 55 was reduced to five finalists by an identity community committee. Participants in the International ID Day met the finalists and took part in a live vote to choose the winner.

And the US$3,000 top prize went to Alike Opaye from Ghana for his entry making up a thumbprint from words related to identity issues, forming a womb around a baby soon to be born and take on an identity. Opaye, an art director, describes the piece as a metaphor for legal identity as a credential shows only a few attributes about a person, but behind that there is so much more.

ID Day 2021 By Alike Opaye from Ghana

ID Day 2021 By Alike Opaye from Ghana

Opaye told viewers he was “over the moon, very excited” by his win. The art competition was sponsored by Integrated Biometrics (IB). David Gerulski, Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing joked he was glad this design won as “IB loves fingerprints, we think that’s the best biometric.” On a more serious note, he said he was pleased to see so many governments involved in the movement to tackle the “identity void” and that he is “looking forward to the day when this problem is in the past.”

The other finalists were Elie Ngiene from DRC, Odemaina Ubi from Nigeria, História Da Costa from Angola who said learning graphic design had kept him out of trouble in a challenging neighborhood, and, in a fitting example for the day, 16-year-old Kieran Ouseb from Namibia who taught himself graphic design during the COVID pandemic and was just old enough to obtain ID in Namibia which he needed for opening a bank account to receive his winnings. (Artwork featured below)

Dr. Atick saw coverage of the movement by leading French national Le Monde as a positive sign that the issues and International ID Day itself were being taken into the mainstream.

Become a Friend of International ID Day

As part of efforts to take the mission beyond its core community in the identity sector, organizers are now reaching out to individuals and organizations to sign up as a Friend of the Coalition.

The new category allows any who do not fit the general requirements to become a Partner of the Coalition.

Details for sign up can be found on the International Identity Day site. Names and countries of individuals will be published on the site.

ID Day 2021 By Kieran Ouseb from Namibia

ID Day 2021 By Kieran Ouseb from Namibia

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