September 30, 2022, – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The National ID Program Ethiopia celebrated its inaugural “International Identity Day” on September 16, 2022.

In recognition of the global initiative of establishing International Identity Day, a conference highlighting the current works being carried out by the National ID Program in the issuance of Digital IDs to residents of Ethiopia had been organized. The full-day conference was organized at Sheraton Addis Hotel on the 16th of September with over 400 participants from the Ethiopian Identification Ecosystem including a diverse group of sectoral players, stakeholders, international service providers, civil society organizations, and human rights organizations. The celebration included speeches by invited officials, testimonial videos from participating ministers and other officials, panel discussions, and breakout sessions with bodies that support the Identification Ecosystem.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.9 calls for a legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030. Establishing an International ID Day is a global initiative designed to highlight the role identity plays in empowering individuals to exercise their rights and responsibilities fairly and equitably and nations to operate with full inclusivity and accountability. Ethiopia’s International ID Day was held in support of this global initiative and to emphasize the Government’s commitment to SDG 16.9 and establishing a national digital ID system. The program brought together various players in the Identification ecosystem with an informative session that discussed the role of a digital ID in various sectors, national ID rollout modalities, and the Digital ID ecosystems with impacted parties and technology service providers. 

The digital ID system is to guarantee citizens’ right to recognition, expand the opportunities to use various social and economic rights, foster trust in the relationship between the service provider and recipient, and establish a system of transparency, accountability, and streamlined operation at the national level,” stated HE Teferei Fikre, Prime Minister Office Chief of Staff and Head of Cabinet Affairs. Mr. Solomon Desta, Vice Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, also highlighted the importance of a digital ID in ensuring financial inclusion by stating, “It is obvious that delivering effective, dependable, and value-added services are hampered by the absence of digital ID. I found this is a promising move and the financial sector, as well as the National Bank of Ethiopia, will benefit greatly from the presence of digital ID.” 

Identification systems that are inclusive and trusted can serve as a powerful tool for development and progress in areas of financial inclusion, democracy, health, commerce, women’s empowerment, and gender equality. Ethiopia’s International Identity (ID) Day was a critical forum for sharing how the country will accomplish this and build a national ID system that provides legal identity for all citizens and all legal residents in the country to ensure equitable access to social and political services and promotes financial and economic inclusion.

For more information regarding this press release, please contact: Ruth Michail, ruth@id.et, or visit the National ID Program website: https://id.gov.et/

Program highlights can be viewed in this video.