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Giving people an ID

In October we reported that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has estimated that millions of Africans do not have an ID. According to the World Bank, roughly half a billion people in Africa are unable to prove their identities. Most African states have incomplete citizen registries, meaning that people without birth certificates, or a biometric identifier, cannot prove their identity. In sub-Saharan countries, rural birth registration for children under 5 is less than 50%. The World Bank has put aside $1.2bn to support ID projects in 45 countries. Nearly every African country with a stable government now has active biometric ID programmes in place or underway, according to ID4Africa. South Africa and Nigeria’s biometric IDs (eIDs) are among the most developed. For ecommerce, the take-up of IDs or eIDs is essential. Non-registered citizens are usually unable to have bank accounts or addresses. They represent the digital divide.

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Shahrain Coovadia

Shahrain Coovadia is a Cyber Security Consultant at Deloitte, South Africa. Prior to joining Deloitte she started a web-design studio, and worked at the University of Cape Town as a teaching facilitator. Shahrain graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Commerce Honours specialising in Information Systems. She currently facilitates web & database management for Ecommerce Forum South Africa (EFSA).

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