Kenya: Digital Identity (ID) roll-out on course, PS

Published: 9/Mai/2024

Kenyans have been assured that their data is safe as the government’s moves to introduce a third generation digital Identity Card.

Immigration and Citizen Services Cabinet Secretary Julius Bitok, said that the government is complying with all the regulations and legal frameworks required, to ensure wananchi’s data is safe and secure.

Speaking today, during the Network of Africa Data Protection Authorities (NADPA) Conference deliberation on digital ID and the role of Data Protection Authorities in Africa, the PS said that the government has been able to conduct more than 10 data impact protection assessment for the digital ID, with the support from the office of the Data Commissioners.

“We are not doing anything against the law, we are doing everything possible to ensure that we stick to the law, as far as ensuring that data is protected,” he added.

Prof Bitok explained that the government is in the process of rolling-out digital ID for all Kenyans, transiting from the old generation ID to the third generation ID, confirming that no one will be discriminated on the account of not being able to acquire one.

“I want to assure the country that we are putting mechanisms to ensure that we have a smooth transition from the old generation ID to the digital ID, which is a third generation ID, and that no Kenyan will be discriminated against,” he emphasised.

He confirmed that e-Citizen platform now has more than 13 million registered users, meaning they are already having some kind of digital ID they are using to enjoy the government services.

Currently the 13 million people accessing the e-Citizen daily is at 50 percent and this , the PS said, is a good progress since the process started one year ago.

“We have worked very hard and made progress to ensure that we push the numbers and on average, we are enrolling about 30,000 people every day on e-Citizens and when looking at the entire population of 32 million adults, we are halfway and hoping within one year to two years, we should have everybody having a digital ID,” the PS said.

He said that with more than 16,000 services on-line, the government collects more than Sh700 million per day on e-Citizen, even as Kenyans continue to utilise services.

“Our plan is in the short term to ensure that we are collecting Sh2 billion per day,” the PS said.

He added that a lot of progress is being made, explaining that when it started the platform was collecting Sh 50 million, however, currently it’s at Sh 700 million but in the next few months it can be able to get to Sh 2 billion in collections per day, even as they target to serve one (1) million Kenyans on a daily basis.

“One million Kenyans should be able to enjoy e-Citizen services and no Kenyan will be discriminated. In any case, the government has already announced that it removed vetting process, for important documents whether you want an ID or Passport in an effort to ensure that no Kenyan feels left out, as far as acquisition of these very important documents is concerned,” Prof Bitok said.

The digital ID, the PS said is also not an exception and that all Kenyans will be given an opportunity to enroll on digital ID.

To put it in context, Prof. Bitok explained that there are four products in the digital ID ecosystem dubbed “Maisha ecosystem” and this involved a Maisha number that is being given to the newborns and will run across their lives.

“This number will be a number used in primary, secondary and also university. It will also be the same number for ID, for the NSSF, NHIF and will appear in one’s death certificate,” he explained.

The second component, the PS continued is the ‘Maisha card’ which is a smart card which carries the maisha number and is the third generation ID while the third is the virtual version of it which is ‘Maisha Digital’

“Instead of carrying the physical card, you can carry your phone around and be able to enjoy services using your phone,” he said

The fourth component, Prof. Bitok confirmed is what is being called  ‘Maisha integrated database’ having one database called IPRS, which connects the entire government, is connected to e-Citizen and where once accesses services

“The National Registration Bureau NRB, civil registration, immigration, all are connected to IPRS through inter-operability so that all services can be accessed easily, without necessarily having to pick on biometrics everywhere you go,” he said.

He said that his department is working very closely with the ICT ministry to ensure that there is internet everywhere in the country saying it connectivity has been a challenge in the rural areas,

“ICT is also doing a lot of work to ensure that the entire country is connected with Internet connectivity, so that people can enjoy their services in the comfort of their homes,” he added.

Prof Bitok assured all Kenyans that even as they access services using their phones, the system in place in the country protects and secures  personal data whether its access to ID, Driving license, police clearance or any government service.

The PS noted that in this space of digital transformation, which His Excellency the President has made very clear, there are three components that is digital identity, Interoperability and Payment Integration.

“You have to identify yourself.  Interoperability is where the system is able to talk to other systems across government and payment integration is able to assimilate our payments to the extent that we are able to see clearly who is paying for what and we have made a lot of progress working with the Ministry of ICT

Immaculate Kassait, Data protection Commissioner said they have offered advisory and confirming that they have already received data protection impact assessment from the Ministry of Interior.

“We have also offered training and they have been very proactive in coming to us for training and in addition we continue to do an audit just to make sure that we are securing the information and that the data is in their custody,” she said.

The two day conference brought together more than 20 countries from around Africa to engage on the levels of data protection and exchange ideas of how African needs to protect their data.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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Themes: Cartes d’identité et passeports
Regions: Kenya
Year: 2024