One of the most populous countries in the world is getting a big boost from a World Bank investment that promises to expedite the Nigerian digital ID initiative. Indeed, recent news out of the African nation is further evidence of the quickening pace of national digital ID efforts across the globe.
It enables participation in the country’s health services, helps with payment of taxes, is used for international travel, the acquisition of driver’s licenses and voting, and is needed for property transactions.
That African country, home to more than 200 million people, reportedly is the beneficiary of a World Bank grant of some $433 million that will go toward the country’s national digital ID push. According to local reports, the total cost of the program could rise to $2.3 billion, though there is no immediate and official confirmation of that.
In any case, the money from the World Bank will go toward the country’s National Identity Management Commission and its National Identification Number (NIN) program. In general, that money is reportedly earmarked for program expansion and data collection, among other tasks. According to the commission, the NIN “is a set of numbers assigned to an individual upon successful enrolment. Enrolment consists of the recording of an individual’s demographic data and capture of the ten fingerprints, head-to-shoulder facial picture and digital signature, which are all used to cross-check existing data in the National Identity Database to confirm that there is no previous entry of the same data.”
Nigerian digital ID scope
The country mandates that every citizen enroll in the NIN program.
The overall goal is the operation of a national identity database anchored to digital ID technology, and the deployment and use of a digital ID credential that citizens can use to access governmental and even private sector services. Indeed, the lack of such credentials and ID verification and authentication capabilities is among the most pressing issues in Africa, at least when it comes to payments, commerce and public services. It prevents citizens from accessing a wide range of financial services, among other things.
As for Nigeria’s NIN program, it enables participation in the country’s health services, helps with payment of taxes, is used for international travel, the acquisition of driver’s licenses and voting, and is needed for property transactions, among other tasks, according to the country’s government.
Some local reports have described progress as slow when it comes to the Nigerian digital ID and NIN effort. Card issuance reportedly began in 2014, and since then, the government has printed only 1 million ID cards. But the new funding from the World Bank could help accelerate those efforts — which, according to the Nigerian government, are also targeted as the Nigerian diaspora in such countries as Germany and India.