Kenya: Government Partners UNDP to Launch a New Digital ID System

By : Samira Njoya

Date : vendredi, 25 août 2023 18:38

Service digitization is one the priorities of the Kenyan government. Several projects are underway in the country to provide the necessary framework for the delivery of digital services.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Kenyan government recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to roll out a digital identity system in the country.

Signed in Nairobi,  the deal provides for UNDP technical assistance and collaboration with the government to mobilize resources to support the development and implementation of a new Unique Personal Identifier (UPI), the  Maisha Namba. The country will anchor digital identification to this UPI.

"Together, we will build on our current registration and identity management practices in a way that doesn't reinvent, but rather identifies and corrects gaps in our current systems and leverages digital solutions, including mobile and web applications, to move to better systems," said Julius Bitok (pictured, left), Principal Secretary of Immigration and Citizen Services.

The two sides inked the agreement as part of a nationwide digital identification program that the Kenyan government kickstarted. Under this larger program, each Kenyan citizen will get a UPI at birth. The Maisha Namba will replace the Huduma Namba, a system launched in 2019 by the Kenyatta government but highly criticized by the population. 

Maisha Namba and Digital ID will officially come online on October 2, 2023. Other products like the Maisha Card, which will replace the current ID card, will follow, and a National Master Population Register will be established. 

According to Julius Bitok, the digital ID system will safely, and reliably, enable Kenyans to check their identity for various purposes, ranging from opening bank acccriticizedo accessing government services or traveling. This will also reduce fraud and corruption.

Samira Njoya


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