With a population of 120 million, Ethiopia has chosen a firm to produce new digital IDs, also known as Fayda.
Ethiopia has taken steps towards adopting digital IDs after it picked Madras Security Printers Private Limited as its partner for printing the documents. The company presented a bid worth $300,000 and is set to produce 1 million digital IDs, also known as Fayda. The firm is set to produce pre-customised cards as part of the contract. These digital identity documents will include biometric information, which will authenticate Ethiopians to access various public services and verify their identity when opening new bank accounts.
According to Biometric Update, another data storage contract for the digital ID system is being considered. Tech5’s biometric engine and digital ID issuance software were tested during the trial phase. This complies with a digital identity law requiring well-organised personal data to be accessible to relying parties and securely stored in a designated firm’s database.
In 2022, the National Identity Program (NDIP) launched the enrollment process for the Fayda ID, which serves as Ethiopia’s foundational identification document for identity verification. The NDIP has registered a little over 1.4 million Ethiopians for the Fayda ID.
The Kebele ID, primarily used to identify a person’s place of residence, is currently the most widely adopted type of identification, with ID4D estimating its popularity among adults to be between 90% and 95%. It is used alongside other functional identification documents, such as driver’s licences, and international passports, to verify one’s identity.
Ethiopia passes digital identity law
In March 2023, Ethiopia, with a population of over 120 million, passed the Digital Identity Proclamation Bill into law. Ethiopia joins the growing list of African nations transitioning to a digital identification system, including Kenya and Uganda.
Ethiopia’s digital ID legislation is set to help the country establish a robust system for citizen registration. The bill covers various crucial aspects, including registration procedures, authentication services, the institutional framework, data security, privacy protection, and legal consequences for breaches. This move will likely modernise Ethiopia’s ID system and is expected to promote inclusivity.
No access to banking services without digital IDs
The National Bank of Ethiopia, alongside the National Identity Program, announced plans to use the national digital ID, Fayda, for all transactions. In 2017, approximately 34.83% of Ethiopia’s adult population (under 24 million people) had bank accounts.
The initiative will compel bank customers to use the Fayda ID for onboarding. The National Bank of Ethiopia, the nation’s central bank, reiterated this plan to use Fayda as the primary ID for banking operations.
Kenya to launch digital IDs this month
Kenya is also set to adopt a digital identity for its citizens. Some details have been revealed about its upcoming digital ID system. For instance, the launch set to go live this month will use the unique personal identifiers (UPI) system that includes advanced security features such as iris and facial biometrics and fingerprint identification, similar to the existing identity documents. The new IDs will replace the failed Huduma Namba launched by the previous administration in 2018.