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Niger launches WURI project to issue biometric ID for regional trade and public services

Niger launches WURI project to issue biometric ID for regional trade and public services

A regional system for digital identity that is interoperable between West African countries has been launched in Niger, LeSahel.org reports. The project will support the establishment of a biometric ID for domestic and regional use.

The West Africa Unique Identification for Regional Integration and Inclusion (WURI) is a project to build foundational identity systems in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The WURI-Niger project will begin with strengthening legal and institutional frameworks, identifying gaps in the existing legal foundation. The second component is the establishment of robust and inclusive identification systems, including unique identification numbers linked to biometric data. The government will issue credentials free of charge, according to an English translation of the article.

The third component of the project is intended to provide documents that can be used to access public and private-sector services. These credentials are intended to support cross-border service access through the verification and authentication of users’ digital identity.

Biometric identification will be used to provide access to basic public services, WURI-Niger says in an announcement on LinkedIn.

The project also includes upgrading the capacity of the High Authority for the Protection of Personal Data (HAPDP).

The project is not intended to replace the existing national civil status system, but rather to extend it with a regional credential which is also recognized within the country.

Niger’s implementation is part of the second phase of the WURI project, which is funded with $273 million from the World Bank. Togo began working with MOSIP to develop its national ID system in line with the WURI initiative towards the end of 2021.

The Niger launch announcement was attended by representatives of the Presidency of the Republic of Niger, the World Bank and its ID4D initiative, UNICEF, UNHCR, the World Food Programme and other national authorities, according to another LinkedIn post.

If successful, the project will deliver proof of identity to 22 million people in Niger by 2026.

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