The State of Identification Systems in Africa: A Synthesis of Country Assessments

Published: 1/Avr/2017
Source: World Bank

by Julia Clark.

From the summary:

The ability to prove one’s identity is a cornerstone of participation in modern life, yet over 1.5 billion people lack proof of legal identity.

As a first step in assisting its client countries to close this identity gap, the World Bank Group’s ID4D initiative conducts Identity Management Systems Analyses (IMSAs) to evaluate countries’ identity ecosystems and facilitate collaboration with governments for future work. To date, analyses have been conducted in 17 African countries, including Botswana, Chad, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Overall, these analyses reveal a wide range of identity system types and levels of development. Some countries, such as Botswana, Kenya, Morocco, and Rwanda have systems that are relatively advanced in terms of coverage, robustness, integration, and utility. Many others (e.g., Chad, Nigeria, and Tanzania) are in intermediate levels of development, while others still have non-existent or newly merging identity systems (e.g., DRC, Guinea, Liberia). In these countries, a historic lack of strong foundational identity systems has often led to a proliferation of disconnected functional registers. Many are currently faced with the challenge of reverse-engineering civil registers and national IDs in order to improve efficiency and meet demand for identification services.

The first section of this paper synthesizes the findings from these reports according to the five dimensions of the IMSA: administration, accessibility, technology, integration, and legal frameworks. Based on these findings, the second offers some general conclusions about the current state of identity systems in these countries. A final section offers recommendations from these IMSAs that may be broadly applicable to other developing contexts, as well as recommendations for future WBG engagement in this area.

Download from World Bank website here.
Themes: Cartes d’identité et passeports, Enregistrement des naissances, Pièces d'identité
Regions: Pan Afrique
Year: 2017