23 September 2023

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Somalia Implements Biometric National ID System to Combat Security Threats

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Somalia Implements Biometric National ID System to Combat Security Threats

Somalia has launched its own biometric identity card system in an effort to address the country’s “myriad socioeconomic challenges” and combat security threats. Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre expressed hope that the new national ID system would boost businesses, improve the economy, enhance communication, and strengthen measures against terrorism and extremism.

The digital ID system, implemented with the assistance of Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), includes fingerprint and face biometrics as well as a signature. The registration process also involves an interview and document validation. The government’s goal is to register 15 million Somalis for the national ID the end of 2026 and establish registration offices in each district.

The introduction of the system marks a significant milestone for Somalia, whose national citizen registry collapsed during the turbulent 1990s. The implementation of the digital ID is part of Pakistan’s “Look Africa” policy, according to NADRA Chairman Asad Rehman Gilani. NADRA has been working with Somalia’s government on ID solutions since signing a memorandum of understanding in 2018. The agency is also providing identity solutions to other African governments, including Kenya, Sudan, and Nigeria.

The digital ID system aims to enhance security, provide citizens with a means to establish their identity, and improve access to public services. The first recipients of the new national identification cards were Prime Minister Barre and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. However, the implementation of the digital ID system may still encounter challenges, according to the Heritage Institute of Mogadishu.

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