Source: World Bank
Zambia provides a distinctive case of national identity management. Even from before independence in 1964 the identity card has played a prominent role and by 2010 the National Registration Card (NRC) covered more than 83% of the population of 16 and above. At the same time civil registration (the registration of births, deaths, marriages, divorces and other vial events) has remained underdeveloped, inter alia because of a lack of utility perceived by many, poverty among large parts of the population and a centralized process anchored in the law of 1973. Coverage has remained below 15%, making Zambia the country with the 4th lowest birth registration rate for under-five children in the world. Combined, half of Zambia’s population has a legal identity either because of birth registration or because of the possession of the national ID. The country is now embarking on a reorganization of its civil registration operations and is on the brink of introducing a new national ID. The implementation of the new ID-project could set the country back by affecting the current coverage level of the National Registration Card. This could impact elections, which have been held thirteen times since Independence, because the NRC is a voter identification requirement.
This report of the World Bank’s mission on its Identity Management Systems Analysis (IMSA) in Zambia should be seen against the backdrop of the rapid introduction of information and communication technology in all spheres of life, including in e-government and in the digital economy across the globe, and in Africa witness the theme of the 2016 World Economic Forum held in Rwanda. Hence the World Bank’s World Development Report, titled “Digital Dividends.” This year marks also the start of a new global development agenda running until 2030, and the historic inclusion of a legal identity for all by that year (Sustainable Development Target 16.9). The report provides a detailed analysis of the status of the foundational identity systems of civil registration and identification (national ID and elections), as well as of other existing functional identity systems such as the one for taxpayers or mobile phone users.
Download from World Bank website