Ethiopia, with a population of 120 million, has made progress in adopting digital IDs selecting Madras Security Printers Private Limited as its partner for producing the documents. The company won the bid with an offer of $300,000 and will be responsible for producing 1 million digital IDs, known as Fayda. These digital identity cards will incorporate biometric information, allowing Ethiopian citizens to access various public services and verify their identity when opening bank accounts.
An additional data storage contract for the digital ID system is currently under consideration. Tech5’s biometric engine and digital ID issuance software have already been tested during the trial phase. This aligns with a digital identity law that mandates the secure storage of well-organized personal data in a designated firm’s database, accessible to authorized parties.
The Fayda ID serves as Ethiopia’s foundational identification document for identity verification. Launched in 2022 the National Identity Program (NDIP), the enrollment process has registered over 1.4 million Ethiopians for the Fayda ID. Currently, the most widely adopted form of identification is the Kebele ID, used to determine a person’s place of residence. It is supplemented other functional identification documents like driver’s licenses and international passports for identity verification purposes.
Ethiopia joined the ranks of other African nations, such as Kenya and Uganda, passing the Digital Identity Proclamation Bill into law in March 2023. This legislation will help establish a comprehensive citizen registration system, covering important aspects such as registration procedures, data security, and privacy protection. It is expected to modernize Ethiopia’s existing ID system and promote inclusivity.
The National Bank of Ethiopia and the National Identity Program have announced plans to make the national digital ID, Fayda, mandatory for all transactions. In 2017, only 34.83% of Ethiopia’s adult population had bank accounts. The initiative aims to encourage the use of Fayda IDs during onboarding processes at banks, making it the primary identification document for banking operations.
Meanwhile, Kenya is set to launch its own digital ID system. The upcoming system will use the unique personal identifiers (UPI) system, incorporating advanced security features such as iris and facial biometrics and fingerprint identification. These new IDs will replace the previous administration’s failed Huduma Namba initiative launched in 2018.
– Biometric Update