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St. Vincent and the Grenadines looks to MOSIP for national ID pilot

St. Vincent and the Grenadines looks to MOSIP for national ID pilot

The southern Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is planning to pilot its national digital identity system next year with help from MOSIP, Biometric Update has learned.

Finance Minister Camilo Gonsalves revealed that the pilot will utilize the MOSIP platform and the country’s Vital Statistics System in an address to parliament.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ digital ID is envisioned as a unique identifier that lasts from birth until death to facilitate digital interaction with the public sector.

“Those of us who have friends in the diaspora know that the ability to digitally identify and authenticate individuals is key to delivering public services, as it enables secure and verifiable access to public records,” Gonsalves said. “This process begins fundamentally with the assignment of a unique identification number to each citizen. We have conducted a legal and regulatory assessment and made recommendations as to the necessary reforms to implement this integrated digital identification system and authentication process.”

He noted passport and driver’s license renewals and paying taxes online as some of the use cases the digital ID will enable.

Winston George, project coordinator for the Caribbean Digital Transformation Project with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Information Technology, told Biometric Update in an email that the government plans to use MOSIP for a pilot or proof-of-concept implementation, starting in the first quarter of 2024.

Using open-source technology means “we will have the source code and we can tweak it to match whatever needs we have,” Gonsalves said.

The Times report referred to technology for the project being procured from 3M Innovative Properties through a pooled procurement by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The total contract was for $3.1 million, with St. Vincent and the Grenadines accounting for $785,000. George clarified in the email that the contract specified was signed in 2013, and the project has reached its end-of-life.

The digital ID and authentication system is being funded in part with $2 million from CARDTP, which is also intended to support enhancements to the country’s civil registry, a government-owned digital payments platform, and web and mobile portals for access to government services.

The country is attempting to model its digital public infrastructure development on those of India, Estonia and Singapore, according to the report.

Gonsalves said the decision to run a pilot prior to the full rollout was spurred by concerns expressed by the opposition party.

MOSIP enters Latin America

The project represents a step into a new target region for MOSIP, which Chief Dissemination Officer Nagarajan Santhanam told Biometric Update in an interview earlier this year is part of the second phase of the platform’s planned growth.

IIT-B, which is MOSIP’s home base, signed an agreement early in 2023 with the Latin American and Caribbean Council for Civil Registry, Identity and Vital Statistics (CLARCIEV), Santhanam revealed, and said that a couple of countries in Latin America were close to signing agreements with MOSIP.

This post was update at 19:05pm eastern on December 11, 2023 to clarify that the pooled procurement contract is for a legacy system, and details about the government’s engagement with MOSIP.

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