It has been two steps forward and possibly two steps back again for digital ID in Africa this week. While states in West Africa began a process to start sharing biometric data to tackle terrorism in the Sahel and South Africa launched a biometric program to reduce corruption in social housing, Ghana has found that banks are rejecting its prized Ghana Card as ID and South African officials could have subjected Nigerian evacuees to biometric capture to prevent them returning to the country. The global significance of Africa’s biometric projects is gaining ground. CSIS, a Washington DC-based think tank ran a session on challenges and potential for digital ID with speakers from the World Bank, Omidyar Network and USAID, which we covered separately.
Subsidised housing provision will soon be administered with biometric verification of applicants in Gauteng Province to eliminate corruption, according to SABC News.
The Member of the Executive Council for housing for the province, Leobogang Maile, announced the new biometric element to housing applications due to corruption and maladministration. He also stated that certain construction companies would be blacklisted after building projects were abandoned.
The new system will allow applicants to monitor the status of their applications and will also mean that they cannot apply for multiple houses.
A new billion-dollar fund to combat terrorism across the Sahel will include cross-border intelligence sharing which could lead to the establishment of a digital biometric system to facilitate collaboration between services, states a Jeune Afrique report on the extraordinary meeting held in Ouagadougou where the resources were announced.
The plans discussed by member states of the economic community are for 2020-2024 and are in addition to the G5 Sahel military taskforce.
Update – Guinea: A conference of experts from the World Bank and the public and private sectors from West Africa plus India and Canada is underway in Guinea’s capital Conakry to discuss the next steps for the $50 million World Bank funded WURI biometric integration scheme, reports Media Guinee. Our summary of the scheme.
In brief – Ghana: A startup that uses biometrics to link users to health records wins PwC Japan competition.
Update – Nigeria: Thousands of pensioners line up in Imo state for biometrics to clear state pensions backlog.