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Indian G20 Sherpa says expansive DPI adoption by Global South will speed SDG attainment

Kenya plans digital cooperation agreement
Categories Biometrics News  |  ID for All  |  In Depth
Indian G20 Sherpa says expansive DPI adoption by Global South will speed SDG attainment

An Indian government representative (or “Sherpa”) at the G20, Amitabh Kant, has called for more countries of the Global South to develop and deploy digital public infrastructure (DPI) in order to hasten their march towards attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking at a recent Global Technology Summit organized by Carnegie India, Kant posited that for the Global South to be part of the equitable global development dynamic, the building blocks of DPI must be built and now, according to Business Standard.

He laments that an estimated 4 billion people do not have digital identity, about 1.3 billion are unbanked and that about 133 countries lack instant digital payment systems.

An initiative dubbed 50-in-5 was launched last month with the goal of having 50 countries of the Global South rollout at least one of the three components of DPI in a seamless, secure and interoperable manner by 2028.

Initiatives like this, according to Kant, must be encouraged as they are capable of helping countries “leapfrog” to reach their SDG targets.

He referenced India which is often cited as a good example of DPI development and how it uses those tools to deliver social services. He mentioned the case of Covid relief payments, where the UPI enabled instant cash benefit transfers to 800 million people.

Kant has been a strong advocate of DPI. Sometime in the past, he called for the consideration of a global legal framework to guide the design, development and use of DPI ecosystems.

AI-powered DPI on the move in India

During the summit, Indian tech entrepreneur and co-founder of Infosys, Nandan Nilekani, spoke about the role which artificial intelligence (AI) can play in adding traction to the deployment of DPI ecosystems.

He said given the changing realities, it may just be time to re-baptize digital public infrastructure as “Digital Public Intelligence” and that India is entering a new stage in its DPI experience thanks to generative AI, The Sociable reports.

Nilekani, who is one of the brains behind the Aadhaar digital ID project, said “DPI have brought us to this point, now, AI with its ability to reduce complexity and make knowledge accessible, and with its ability to generate content, will take us further,”

The official mentioned an AI-powered local languages translation software among other AI-assisted tools which are making social life easier for Indians, to buttress his digital public intelligence notion.

Nikelani was on a panel during a World Bank and IMF meeting in April which underscored the importance of DPI for socio-economic development.

Kenya keen on tapping from India’s digital ID experience

In the meantime, during a recent a State visit to India this week, Kenyan President William Ruto said his country has a lot to tap from India’s wealth of experience in the domain of digital transformation.

Ruto said, as reported by ANI, that he had dispatched his ICT Minister to India to take lessons from the country’s digital ID and digital government systems which can be replicated in Kenya.

Ruto added that the two countries will soon sign a cooperation agreement on digital matters.

Kenya is in the process of rolling out a new digital ID system. However, a high court in the capital Nairobi recently put a halt to the move, citing lack of regulatory compliance.

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