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Kenya seeks NADRA collaboration, expertise on digital ID project

Kenya seeks NADRA collaboration, expertise on digital ID project

Kenya is looking forward to making changes to its digital ID system and the government is banking on the expertise of Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) in the implementation of the project.

In this regard, a Kenyan delegation recently paid a working visit to Pakistan where members had a series of talks with NADRA top management to assess the wherewithal of the agency which has solicited the digital ID contract.

As Pakistani daily The Dawn reports, the Kenyan delegation was led by Julius K. Bitok, Principal Secretary at the State Department for Citizen Services, who was accompanied by members of technical and operations teams in charge of ID issues.

During the visit, NADRA Chairman Tariq Malik had working sessions with members of the Kenyan delegation to whom he reiterated the importance of having a digital ID ecosystem which can trigger social and economic inclusion and growth.

According to Malik, NADRA has the capacity and expertise to accompany Kenya in the implementation and management of its digital ID scheme, saying a robust digital ID system is a great foundation for building other digital public infrastructure.

The visiting delegation was also shown round NADRA’s state-of-the-art digital ID infrastructure as well as some of its technical and network installations.

Bitok, for his part, said the main objective of their trip to Islamabad was to get first hand appreciation of NADRA’s digital ID prowess and to see how the experience can be replicated in Kenya.

He said he hopes to see NADRA play an important role in Kenya’s quest to put in place a unique citizen registration database which will act as the “single version of truth” on citizens’ identity in a country estimated by the World Bank to have 53 million people. Bitok says that the centralized repository will link various government databases that are currently siloed.

In the era of immediate past President Uhuru Kenyatta, a digital ID system dubbed Huduma Namba was introduced in Kenya but it ran into storm. The current President William Ruto says novelties will be introduced to the ID system under a government plan to digitize around 5,000 government services.

It will not be the first time NADRA will be executing a digital technology contract for Kenya should it be awarded the ID project. In 2015, the agency secured a contract worth $3 million for the production of Kenya’s biometric passport.

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