Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania upgrade digital ID systems in collaboration with development partners

Zambia has taken an important first step in its transition to a modern legal and digital identity system, by digitizing the records of approximately 7 million people. The milestone comes amid a series of engagements by African governments with identity systems at various stages of development with international development partners to strengthen their digital public infrastructure (DPI) and identification systems. The measures taken in Namibia and Tanzania, along with Zambia, have been revealed just as ID4Africa’s annual in-person event for 2024, focused on ECD, begins.

A LinkedIn post by Tariq Malik, who acts as a senior technical advisor to the World Bank, notes that Zambia managed to digitize records for 81 percent of its legacy paper ID cards in just three months. This initiative also provides a critical database that can be used as Zambia updates its credentials, Malik said. Biometric update. The plan is to complete the digitization process in July.

“Digitizing legacy identity data reduces enrollment time and cost, facilitates identity verification with legacy data, and enables savings opportunities,” Malik wrote on LinkedIn. “Makes citizens’ updated #biometric database robust.”

According to Malik, the Zambian government has already collected biometric records of 1.3 million people. Registration efforts for the digital national ID continue, despite the disastrous drought that temporarily delayed it.

Malik also serves as a senior advisor to the United Nations Development Program on governance. In that capacity, he was in Namibia last week for a collaborative assessment over a five-day period.

Digital identity to digital services.

While far ahead of Zambia in its digital ID journey, Namibia is looking to continue strengthening its IPR and expand the use of its national ID to more sectors.

“Legal identity is an engine of inclusive development, enabling citizens to fully participate in economic and social activities, including access to financial services vital for economic mobility,” the executive director of the Ministry of Interior, told The Namibian, Etienne Maritz.

The country is also carrying out a national registration campaign for government-issued identification documents, which has already resulted in documents being issued to 38,000 people since February.

Meanwhile, Tanzania is integrating its digital identification and CRVS systems to improve governance of the systems. Integration has a technical aspect, but it also involves the merger of the government bodies responsible for each of them, says Malik.

The largest ID conference in the global south, if not the entire world, the ID4Africa Annual General Meeting, takes place this week in Cape Town, South Africa, with the theme: “Digital Identity as IPR: Building Trust , inclusion and adoption”.

Article topics

Africa | biometrics | CRV | digital government | digital identity | digital public infrastructure | identity document | Namibia | Tanzania | Zambia

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