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Sierra Leone launches biometric ID card to upgrade CRVS, Kenya’s UPI goes birth-to-death

Sierra Leone launches biometric ID card to upgrade CRVS, Kenya’s UPI goes birth-to-death

The details of Kenya’s plans for its Unique Personal Identifier continue to emerge, with the government planning to begin issuing digital death and birth certificates from March 1, The Star reports. The move to upgrade the country’s civil registry comes as Sierra Leone launches an ID card to improve its civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS), and just ahead of an ID4Africa Livecast episode focussing on civil registration on the continent.

The UPI will be used for registration to primary and secondary school, for transactions with the tax authority, and driving licenses, and serve as a national ID number, according to Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok.

The government expects to move all services online by March, and make them accessible through the UPI.

“They will be accessed through E-citizen services, and people will be given what we call Unique Personal Identifier,” says Bitok, as quoted by The Star. “When you register, you automatically receive the number that becomes your birth certificate number.”

Bitok was speaking at the launch of a civil registration office in the Kijiado North area.

The new digital ID is available to Kenyans from birth, whereas Huduma Namba was intended for those 18 years of age and older.

An estimated 90 percent of births in Kenya are already registered online, according to the report, and the government hopes its latest move will increase that rate to 100 percent.

Biometric ID card for Sierra Leone

A new multi-purpose biometric identification card and identity verification system have been launched in Sierra Leone, according to Global Times.

The country’s President, Dr. Julius Maada Bio, introduced the ID card, which includes a chip with embedded biometric data. Among other benefits, this is expected to ease remote KYC checks, lowering the cost of financial transactions and increasing financial inclusion.

“As a government, we believe that comprehensive CRVS data is critical for development planning and policymaking, resource mobilisation, effective governance, public service delivery, and inclusive national development as a whole,” President Bio said, as reported by the Times. He also praised the growth and leadership of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA).

The introduction of the ID card is also expected to set up a transition to a biometric voter verification system, with President Bio noting the adoption of such systems elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. It also functions as an ECOWAS ID card, which is reportedly the sixth implementation of the credential in the region.

Local UNDP representative Tanzila Sankoh noted that previously, several different authorities produced ID cards for more limited purposes, and that the NCRA had conducted a “comprehensive nationwide consultation” with help from a partnership with the Embassy of Ireland.

The country qualified for help under the UN Legal Identity for All Agenda based on the advance of the National Civil Registration Authority Policy and Act of 2016 and a strategic plan for 2019, which establish a legal framework to manage the ID systems.

The ID4Africa event will be held online on February 8, with OpenCRVS, recently featured on the ID 16.9 podcast, among featured guests.

Technology and teamwork can help reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.9 of legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030. Learn more in these two recent episodes of the ID16.9 podcast.

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