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World Bank ID4D report shows govt-issued IDs still limited in digital capabilities

World Bank ID4D report shows govt-issued IDs still limited in digital capabilities

In addition to the at least 850 million people estimated to have no form of legal identity in the world, there are several millions more who do not have any ‘digitally identifiable’ ID, according to a World Bank report.

The findings of the World Bank 2021-2023 Identification for Development (ID4D) Global Dataset update, published a few days ago, spotlight the digital capabilities of government-run identification systems across three important dimensions. These include digital data (data stored in digital format and not on paper); in-person digital verification (verifying biographic information using digital methods), and online digital identity authentication (secure remote identity authentication using digital credentials).

According to the report, other than the 850 million people who do not have an ID at all, it is estimated that 1.1 billion people do not have a digital record of their identity, 1.25 billion do not have a digitally verifiable identity, while 3.3 billion others do not have access to a government-recognized digital identity to securely carry out online transactions, despite ID systems in almost all countries relying on digital data.

Per the findings, ID systems in more than 90 percent (186 out of 198) countries globally now rely on digital data; identification systems across at least two-thirds of countries offer at least a basic type of digital identity verification or authentication for in-person transactions; and about 40 percent of countries (mainly high-income ones) have a digital ID ecosystem that enables fully remote, secure authentication for online transactions.

The report is the second of three in the ID4D Dataset series and provides only a snapshot of realities of things as of July 2022.  It was put together thanks to data provided by ID authorities in 2021 and 2022; data provided by in-country legal experts as part of the 2021 World Development Report’s Global Data Regulation Survey, as well as from desk research.

The authors of the report say they hope the findings will help in “further unpacking digital ID systems’ digital capabilities and how they are used in practice” on a global scale.

‘Future of Government Awards’ 2023 unveiled

Recently, Public Digital – a digital transformation consultancy – in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), unveiled winners of its Future of Government Awards 2023. The Awards reward digital government and digital identity development efforts championed by governments and their partners around the world.

Laureates were rewarded in five categories selected from 334 nominations from 63 countries, according to an announcement.

Among them are the ‘Digital Advocates Award’ won by the digital identity directorate team from the government of Brazil; the ‘Open Source Creation Awards which went to a digital health solution from Bangalore, India; and the ‘Open Source Adaptation Award’ snatched by a team from the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys)

Panel discusses digital government progress

Enhancing the delivery of public services by governments through digital identity was among the issues under discussion during the 11th World Government Summit which just ended in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

During one of the event’s panels titled ‘Digital government: A dream for some, a reality for others,’ stakeholders from governments shared thoughts on the importance of digital technology in delivering important public services to citizens.

In one intervention, the Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology of Barbados, Marsha Caddle, said it was first important to “bridge the digital divide and democratize access to digitization.” She also highlighted how the government of her country took advantage of the COVID pandemic to drive up digital ID adoption and facilitate access to digital government services.

“In Barbados during the COVID crisis, we were able to do some work to make sure that each building has a single building ID to be able to make it easy for public and private businesses to operate. Linked to that, each individual has a digital ID. We’ve had about 90 percent uptake of that project so far,” said Caddle.

“We think that these two aspects will allow us to be able to fully digitalize government services. This is the beginning of having a complete e-services platform for citizens.”

The official added that while the digitization is going on, the government is also working on enhancing trust among citizens, while also addressing the question of digital ID interoperability.

Thoughts on digital ID, transformation barriers

Shira Lev-Ami, chief executive of Israel’s National Digital Agency and Àstrid Desset, former director general of the Open Government of Catalonia’s Open Administration Consortium, who both have experience working with digital units of governments, have made the case for the full transformation of digital government services.

They shared their thoughts as guests on a podcast sponsored by Global Government Forum.  In making a point about digital transformation, Lev-Ami said “digital services are part of the solution, not the problem.”

They also talked about digital ID, digital transformation in the public sector and the importance of creating an atmosphere of trust when digitizing public services.

Nigeria eyes full digitization of government services

Nigeria’s Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy Minister, Bosun Tijani, has emphasized the need to put in place a digital government ecosystem that will facilitate data-sharing among government institutions and ease up access to public services.

Speaking at a recent event in Abuja which rallied ICT bosses of government establishments, Tijani said this would require having the right digital public infrastructure, People’s Gazette reports.

The meeting was for the officials to exchange views on how best the Nigerian government can digitize service delivery for greater efficiency.

Nigeria is also carrying on with its digital ID project which is vital for digital government operations, as is also the case in several other countries including Ethiopia, Philippines, Malaysia and Sierra Leone through different digital ID initiatives.

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