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Margins Group CEO advocates data harmonization for Ghana to curb duplication, ID fraud

Margins Group CEO advocates data harmonization for Ghana to curb duplication, ID fraud

The CEO of Margins Group, the company producing Ghana’s national ID card (Ghana Card), Moses Baiden, has emphasized the need to harmonize all siloed databases in the country in a move which he says will help reduce identity duplication and fraud.

Baiden was speaking recently on local outlet Joy News, underscoring the idea behind the Ghana Card, which was designed to serve as the only source of truth for the identity of Ghanaians, My Joy Online reports.

The official cites examples in some countries in Northern Europe where federated identity systems are being adopted, as opposed to Ghana where he says ID records remain “truncated.”

As a result of the data siloes, Baiden says it is possible for people to obtain documents such as passports with assumed identities, or make false pension claims with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

To him, the exigencies of the time are such that the country must consider a harmonized and efficient ID database which connects public and private entities, and can ensure reliable biometric identity verification. This, he says, will lead to “a clean society where people are who they claim they are.”

Having such a database, per Baiden, will equally support the government in making proper policy decisions drawing from the country’s demographic reality.

The need for a harmonized database that connects all government agencies has been echoed in a country like Nigeria where ID duplication and fraud remain a major concern due to data siloes.

Govt rolls out digital ID for newborns

Eligibility for the Ghana Card is set to expand, as the country’s Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia last week launched the issuance of digital ID to newborns. This is thanks to an integration of databases by the Ministry of Health, the Births and Deaths Registry, Ghana Health Service, and the National Identification Authority (NIA), the Ghana News Agency (GNA) narrates.

At the launch of the process, Bawumia said not only will the process facilitate birth registration for all children born in Ghana, it will also go a long way in guaranteeing access to important services in their lives.

The move is also important for government’s strategic planning, he added, noting that the high birth rate in the country requires “a streamlined process for birth registration and identification issuance.”

As part of the plan, the NIA will soon also begin enrolling children of between six and 15 years for the Ghana Card.

Another report by GNA quotes Margins Group Deputy CEO Kwesi Attah Baiden as commending the digital ID rollout to newborns. He says apart from being timely, it will help in reducing cases of missing babies as their digital IDs will be linked to their mothers’ identity profiles.

The Philippines and Cayman Islands have similar plans for toddlers to get digital IDs.

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