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Togo amends law on biometric identification to advance digital ID ambitions

Togo amends law on biometric identification to advance digital ID ambitions

The parliament in Togo recently adopted a bill which amends an existing law on biometric identification of Togolese citizens, which the country says is part of efforts to improve on the national security of the country and help meet its digital transformation goals.

According to reporting by Togo First, the bill to amend biometric identification rules was adopted alongside another one which strengthens and assigns new roles to the country’s National Cybersecurity Agency. It also extends the powers of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Telecommunications and Posts on the aspect of issuing accreditation to bodies providing trust services.

Minister of Posts, Digital Economy and Technological Innovation, Cina Lawson, who was in parliament when the bills were adopted, told Togo First the amended law will help the government in its digital transformation ambitions as well as enable it tackle security challenges and cybercrime.

Contacted by Biometric Update to comment on the development, Jaume Dubois, a digital identity specialist with experience working in Togo, said the new text on biometric identification for the country, among other things, empowers the national identification agency (ANID) to collect demographic and biometric data of Togolese citizens necessary for setting up the foundational database of the country’s digital ID card project.

This, Dubois explained, is to set the country on the rails to meeting objectives of the ‘2025 Digital Togo Strategy’ which seeks to make Togo a digital economy hub in West Africa. He also commented on the adoption of the law on cyber security, saying it is meant to bolster Togo’s cyber security arsenal in the face of emerging cyber security threats.

The law on biometric identification, which also establishes the national identification agency, was adopted in its original form by Parliament in 2020 with authorities saying at the time that the text was the legal foundation for a biometric national ID system the country is working to implement.

Togo’s initial plan was to have the MOSIP-based digital ID system in place by 2021, but work is yet to be completed on a number of fronts. However, there has been a nationwide awareness campaign on the project and a tender has also been launched to select suppliers for its implementation.

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