Addis Ababa, Ethiopia January 17, 2021- Digital Identification (ID) systems that are inclusive and trusted can serve as powerful enablers for development and advancement in areas of finance, health, social services, commerce, women’s empowerment, and gender equality. The Government of Ethiopia (GoE) recognizes a move to digital for a range of social services, digital economy and society complemented by the right governance and trust frameworks is an essential input to spur the development of the country while fostering inclusivity and accountability. As a result, the need for a robust foundational digital ID system has been identified as a critical prerequisite across multiple initiatives as formulated in the – Digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy. To this end, the GoE has restructured the National ID Program under the PM office to lead the initiative that was previously housed at the Ministry of Peace.
“A national ID provides a foundation for institutions across all sectors to derive their respective functional IDs which will then allow citizens and residents improved access to services ranging from banking and financial services to social programs, national insurance, telecommunications services and more,” said Yodahe Zemichael, Executive Director at National ID Program of Ethiopia. Guided by Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development that focus on universal inclusion, robust design, and governance, Ethiopia targets to enroll 70 million adults by the end of 2025 adhering to the best practice of data proportionality and minimization. Registration will only require four data elements: name, gender, date of birth and residential address. For more information, please refer to the complete data set at www.id.gov.et/dataset.
Due to the far-reaching importance of this initiative, the National ID Program has designed a pilot which will register 100,000 citizens and residents beginning Q1 of 2022. It will provide vital learning to better understand ID program management, technology, operations, finance, and human resource inputs specific to Ethiopia’s context, and inform all aspects of full ID implementation, governance, and use. The pilot will also ensure the inclusion of all geographies, socioeconomic groups, and gender. “We are excited with the potential a digital National ID can bring to our fast growing financial sector in expanding financial services to the under served, increasing our ability to provide enhanced digital services and more” said Mr Mamo Mihretu, Senior Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister.
The National ID Program is anchored in a design that is tailored to Ethiopia’s context and solutions that respond to the country’s priorities. It will be guided by the principles of local capacity-building, country ownership, and open-source/open-standards, and the pilot will be a vehicle for ensuring the country can shoulder full-scale implementation in post-pilot phases.
“Adopting an open platform will encourage technology ownership, easy configuration, and customisation, enabling Ethiopia to build its foundational digital ID systems in a cost-effective manner and avoid vendor lock-in”, said Dr.Joseph J. Atick, Executive Chairman, ID4AFRICA.
The National ID Program collaborates with a number of local and international partners such as government agencies, local banks, and telecom providers, as well as the World Bank, ID4Africa, UNECA and MOSIP. These partnerships are expected to grow as the program expands.
National ID Program of Ethiopia
General Wingate St. Arat Kilo,
Next to Abrhot National Library
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia