Kenya factors in biometrics in three-year digital government plan
The government of Kenya has launched a ‘Huduma Kenya Digitalization Plan’ which aligns with the country’s digitization agenda to deepen and expand access to digital government services through the introduction of new platforms such as a centralized biometrics system and a digital ID ecosystem that is being worked.
The three-year plan, which covers the period from 2023/24 to 2025/2026, falls within the framework of the Huduma Kenya Service Delivery Program, a government initiative launched in 2014 with the mandate to transform the way public services are delivered in Kenya. The initiative is overseen by a government agency known as Huduma Kenya, created by former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013.
The digitization plan thus intends to improve the way Kenyans interact with government by overseeing the digitization at least 80 percent of services government offers to the public within this period.
Among other things, the plan will see Huduma Kenya build a centralized biometric system that will enable customer verification using fingerprints, face, iris and voice biometrics. The central biometrics system will be integrated with the Unified Personal Identification (UPI) platform which is expected to be launched on September 16.
It also envisages other ai-driven methods of helping in service delivery such as digital assistants, avatars, self-service kiosks, and virtual centers.
This and other steps, according to the plan, will enable Huduma Kenya achieve five strategic objectives among which are enhanced customer convenience and experience through the whole of government customer support, enhanced strategic partnerships and collaborations, enhanced customer experience through the implementation of customer service excellence standard, climate action and a paperless Huduma Kenya.
The plan has also been designed to properly respond to the needs of digitally disadvantaged persons and persons living with disabilities.
Speaking at ID4Africa 2023, Kenya’s ICT cabinet secretary Eliud Owalo underscored the importance of biometrics and digital ID in the country’s digital transformation journey.
In the meantime, Huduma Kenya has announced a discontinuation in the use of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) card for access to healthcare services. Instead, the body in a tweet urged subscribers to register their biometrics at Huduma Kenya centers so that they can enjoy uninterrupted access to their healthcare benefits.
In other news from Kenya, the government is continuing with a national farmer registration drive, which has so far seen a total of 4,287,713 farmers enrolled in all of the country’s 47 counties.
At least 16 counties have registered over 100,000 farmers in a drive that started in January with the aim of establishing a database of farmers in the country, Capital FM reports.
The move is to streamline how farmers benefit from some government programs such as fertilizer distribution.