The Inclusiveness or Exclusiveness of National IDs in West Africa

Published: 1/Apr/2021
Source: Africa Digital Rights Hub

The purpose of this project is to review the use of IDs in three (3) West African countries in order to determine where the IDs have been used to include and or exclude individuals in getting access to social services. In doing so, we reviewed relevant literature, laws and policies, grey literature, primary and secondary accounts, and other materials on inclusive/exclusive uses of IDs in the respective countries. The Consultant identified Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria for purposes of the study. The countries have been selected to represent the diversity of legal systems and governance structures within West Africa.

For each country, we have discussed two critical identity credentials/documents: the national identification card (or the national identification number in some cases) and the national health insurance card. The two cards are chosen to represent the foundational and functional identification systems in the three countries, and also reflect the peculiar dimensions and implications for inclusivity.

Overall, we find that in terms of laws and policies related to IDs, governments in the three (3) countries generally have a proinclusivity disposition. Yet, there are also policies and laws in the countries that undermine ID inclusivity and intend promote exclusivity. These exclusionary factors of the six (6) IDs studied here are often heightened by administrative impediments to access. Below are some of the major observations from the three (3) country’s case studies.

PDF undated – released April 2021.


Themes: ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria
Year: 2021