Identification System in Benin: Increasing Access to Services

Published: 26/Jun/2024
Source: World Bank ID4D

By Caroline Tassot & Luis Iñaki Alberro

In 2017, a quarter of Benin’s population was without a birth certificate, and less than half had a national identity card (NIC), with the figure for women even lower at 37%. Among those affected were Catherine, a 13-year-old middle school student in Cotonou, and Donatienne, a 44-year-old resident of Abomey-Calavi, both lacking any form of identity proof. This absence of official identification prevented them, along with a significant portion of the population, from enrolling in school, accessing financial services, or receiving the assistance for which they were eligible.

To address this, the government of Benin embarked on a substantial effort between 2017 and 2018 to biometrically enroll about 90% of the population into the National Registry of Physical Persons. It also joined the World Bank-supported Regional West Africa Unique Identification for Regional Integration and Inclusion (WURI) project to develop a foundational digital identification (fID) system, building on earlier efforts to facilitate access to services and enhance inclusion. fID systems are designed to uniquely identify individuals by linking minimal biographic data with biometric information. Their primary purpose is to confirm a person’s unique identity – essentially asserting that “I am who I claim to be” – and nothing more. This enables various services, such as social protection, health, education, and finance, as well as SIM card providers, to rely on the fID system to identify and authenticate individuals.

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Themes: ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Benin
Year: 2024