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Caribbean, Middle East and Asian nations switch on digital ID, birth registration programs

Caribbean, Middle East and Asian nations switch on digital ID, birth registration programs

Leaders of smaller and developing nations are pushing ahead on civil registries and digital IDs at a rapid pace, with the United Arab Emirates, Jamaica and Singapore digitizing birth and death registration.

Emiratis can use a new platform called Mabrouk Ma Yak to register for a number of government accounts for expected children while the mother is pregnant, according to the Khaleej Times.

Fathers (and only fathers) can sign up to get a birth certificate, passport, national ID and insurance. After the birth, the child will be automatically added to the UAE’s population register.

In a unique feature (to this list, at least), the digital ID platform adds a child’s name to a so-called family book, a chip-protected folder of documents attached to the parents: financial, biometric (photos), travel and marriage among others.

The family book is kept by the father and can help cut through some government red tape because the information is centralized.

In the Caribbean, Jamaica’s government has begun digitizing 2 million birth, marriage, death and adoption records kept by the Registrar General.

According to reporting by the Jamaica Observer, Fujitsu will do the heavy lifting as part of the island’s National Identification System.

Government officials say the move will save taxpayers’ money and make the records, which date back to 1930, more secure.

A third of the world away, Singapore officials say they will have replaced every birth and death physical certificate with digital alternatives by the end of this month.

The tiny nation began digitizing the registration of births and deaths and creating digital birth and death certificates in 2018. Today, birth registration is carried out using the government’s LifeSG app.

Under the new process, bereaved next of kin will no longer have to register deaths. A medical practitioner will do that and a next of kin will be able to download a death certificate.

Government officials this spring said they are adding more digital IDs to the Singpass digital government platform. A mobile driving license is part of that initiative.

UNICEF struck a deal to provide digital birth registration in Pakistan in late-2021, in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.9.

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