Towards the Evaluation of Socio-Digital ID Ecosystems in Africa: Comparative Analysis of Findings from Ten Country Case Studies (Research ICT Africa and the Centre for Internet & Society)

61 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2021

See all articles by Vrinda Bhandari

Vrinda Bhandari

Independent

Anri van der Spuy

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Shruti Trikanad

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Yesha Tshering Paul

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: November 23, 2021

Abstract

Efforts to establish or improve national identification systems in Africa have coincided with the increasing deployment of mobile technology. This has led to the prioritisation of digital “solutions” for facilitating forms of identification and registration – often via biometric attributes. With this background in mind, Research ICT Africa (RIA) and the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) partnered in 2020 and 2021 to investigate, map, and report on the state of digital identity ecosystems in 10 African countries. The project looked at local, digitised (in full or partially) foundational ID systems in Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The project set out to contribute to the broader question of whether digital identity ecosystems increase choices and opportunities for Africans, or whether they exacerbate the multidimensional aspects of digital inequality on the continent. This paper draws from the ten African case studies that have been published independently and aims to provide a synthesis of our general observations, the similarities and differences derived from our country partners’ work, as well as recommendations for improvement and reform. We use the CIS Evaluation Framework of Rule of law, rights-based tests, and risk-based tests

Keywords: digital ID, identity, ID systems, digital identity, Aadhaar, biometric, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, India, welfare, authentication

JEL Classification: K1, Z18, I3, I31, I38

Suggested Citation

Bhandari, Vrinda and van der Spuy, Anri and Trikanad, Shruti and Tshering Paul, Yesha, Towards the Evaluation of Socio-Digital ID Ecosystems in Africa: Comparative Analysis of Findings from Ten Country Case Studies (Research ICT Africa and the Centre for Internet & Society) (November 23, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3969781 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3969781

Anri Van der Spuy

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Shruti Trikanad

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Yesha Tshering Paul

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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