May 27, 2024
Kenya Prepares to Launch Digital ID System for Citizens by Year-End
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Kenya Prepares to Launch Digital ID System for Citizens by Year-End

Kenya is set to introduce digital identification for its citizens by the end of 2023 following a two-month testing phase. President William Ruto announced this development during a speech at the East Africa Device Assembly Kenya plant on October 30. He stated, “The digital ID, which has been a major problem for us for a very long time, is now in testing mode for the next two months. I have been assured by all the stakeholders and the ministries concerned that by December, we will be able to launch digital IDs.”

The digital ID system will accompany Maisha Namba, a lifelong personal identification number assigned to Kenyan citizens upon registration. This joint ID system aims to digitalize various registries and grant citizens easier access to government, education, and medical services.

Julius Bitok, the Principal Secretary of Immigration and Citizen Services, highlighted the significance of the digital identity system, stating, “The digital identity system will provide Kenyans with a secure and reliable way to verify their identity for a variety of purposes, including accessing government services, opening bank accounts, and traveling. It will also help to reduce fraud and corruption, and improve efficiency.”

In September, Bitok encouraged private businesses to embrace digital ID systems, as they offer opportunities for innovative solutions like mobile banking and agent networks, ultimately streamlining e-commerce processes. He also assured that the government would design the digital ID system to facilitate commerce and simplify business transactions.

Regarding the Central Bank of Kenya’s stance on central bank digital currency, in June 2023, the institution expressed reservations about implementing it in the short to medium term. They referred to “other innovative solutions around the existing ecosystem” that could address Kenya’s payment-related challenges.

Image by freepik

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