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Ghana to begin issuing digital IDs to newborns from August

Ghana to begin issuing digital IDs to newborns from August

The issuance of digital ID numbers, known as Ghana Card numbers, to newborns in Ghana is set to begin next month, according to the country’s Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia.

Bawumia was speaking over the weekend at an event in the port city of Cape Coast to mark the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Ghana National College, one of the country’s most prominent high schools.

A press release from the Presidency dated July 23 states that the planned rollout of digital ID numbers to toddlers comes as work to integrate the databases of the Births and Deaths Registry, the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has been completed. Ghana recently launched an instruction manual to streamline civil registration.

A trial to issue the ID numbers to some newborns was done on July 21, Bawumia said, adding that the test run was successful.

“So, from next month, all babies born in Ghana, once they take them to Weigh In, they will be issued the Ghana Card number and also get their Birth Certificate Identification number at the same time, because the two databases are talking to each other. This is very transformational,” said Bawumia as quoted in the press release.

Officials have explained that the Ghana Card numbers to be assigned to newborns will be for life, but physical cards containing their biometrics will be issued only when they have attained legal age – which at least for now is 18. This, they say, is to ensure that the biometric features to be captured are fully developed.

The Vice President underlined the importance of the move, saying in its in line with the government’s ongoing digitalization agenda aimed at preparing the country “to fully partake in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The Ghana Card is increasingly being used as the single proof of ID among Ghanaians, although the problem of uncollected cards remains rife. There has also been a move by the Ghana Election Commission to make it the sole ID for voter registration.

In the meantime, Rwanda is among some of the countries in Africa with similar ambitions to issue digital ID numbers to newborns.

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