Kenya to partner with UNDP in creation of digital ID

Kenya to partner with UNDP in creation of digital ID

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Prof Julius Bitok and Anthony Ngororano, the Resident Representative for the UNDP,

Kenya and UNDP have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the United Nations agency support the rollout of the planned digital identity.

Under the deal, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will provide technical assistance and work with the government to mobilise funding and other resources to support the development and implementation of digital ID.

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Prof Julius Bitok and Anthony Ngororano, the Resident Representative for the UNDP, who signed the MoU on behalf of the government and the UN agency respectively, said the partnership will also extend to monitoring the rollout of digital ID.

“This is a crucial project and that is why we are leveraging on partnership and technical advice of UNDP to realise a solid fool-proof digital Identity,” the PS said. According to the PS,

Kenya hopes to benefit from the UN vast experience gained from supporting at least 25 countries across the world to develop their own digital ID systems.

Going digital with personal identity is also intended to make the country compliant with international standards on cross-border travel set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and other agencies.

Mr. Ngororano described the digital ID as the missing link between citizens and accessible digital services and said the UNDP was keen to support the government to bridge the gap. He said the objectives of the ongoing digitalisation of government services will only be achieved if there was a reliable and compatible personal identification system in place.

“Onboarding 5,000 services online will not, of themselves, resolve development if important segments of the population are left out. And they will be left out if the digital ID architecture does not have this at its centre.”

PS Bitok and Mr Ngororano said the partnership will also factor in the role of stakeholders and interest groups to ensure that the envisaged digital ID gained from a broad inclusion of ideas and acceptance.

With the partnerships in place, the government hopes to get it right with a project that has run into headwinds under at least two previous administrations and officially unveil the digital ID in early October this year.

For instance, the Huduma Namba that was touted as one-stop ID for all Kenyans was plagued by court cases and a hostile reception led by the civil society and human rights organisation protesting alleged encroachment on privacy amid concerns over the security of obtained personal data.

During the signing of the MoU, PS Bitok said the government had learnt from previous challenges in related projects. He revealed the government will be launching four related products in line with the Presidential directive to create digital ID.

The four items are:

i. Maisha Namba: This will be a Unique Personal Number assigned to each individual and that will be the personal identity number from birth to death.

ii. Maisha Card (3rd generation ID): This will be the document that will bear the Maisha Namba (a) above. It will replace the current 2nd generation ID

iii. Digital ID: This will be virtual digital identity for registered persons to support online authentication (using a scanner to pick out biometric features for instance)

iv. National Master Population Register: This will consolidate existing and independent data bases into a single integrated register of data on Kenyans and foreigners resident in the country.

The signing of the MoU was also witnessed by Indian High Commisionr to Kenya, Ms. Namgya C. Khampa, her Barbados Counterpart, Mr William A McDonald, among other dignitaries

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Kenya UNDP Digital ID

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