A continental gathering that showcases the latest innovations in digital registration technology kicked off in Nairobi Tuesday with Kenya committing to reintroduce smart cards by September.
Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok said the government is targeting September 16th for the planned rollout of Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) that will give new-borns in Kenya a unique lifetime registration number.
The date coincides with the global date set aside to mark milestones in digital identity.
“As we reflect on UPI, we are very keen to identity September 16th as the day the government will be able to roll out some of the activities to support the UPI which will be the foundation for our smart identity,” PS Julius Bitok said.
Speaking at the 7th Augmented General Meeting of the ID4Africa at the Kenya College of Insurance in South C, Nairobi, the PS told the nearly 2,000 delegates drawn from 90 countries that the envisaged smart registration was intricately tied to the digitization of government services.
He said the government hoped to make more than the 5,000 services that were initially targeted for digitalisation and easy access available on its eCitizen platform.
To diversify revenue streams and minimise crime linked to identity-theft, the government will consolidate and digitalize existing registration databases under its custody and promote pay-to-access use by telecommunication firms and other businesses that rely on Know-Your-Customer (KYC) profiles.
Addressing the same forum, ICT, Communications and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said the government had no intention of reviving the Huduma Namba.
He said that rather than reintroducing the smart card whose rollout was beset by legal and political challenges, the government will instead consult widely with stakeholders to arrive at a broadly acceptable and advanced ID.
“We will consider what works best for us a country while factoring in all available options through a consultative approach that addresses the concerns of many of our stakeholders,”said ICT CS Eliud Owalo.
He said the government will provide the necessary policy and regulatory environment for technology and innovation companies to support its quest for smart registration.
The three-day ID4Africa conference brings together governments, public institutions, international agencies, the civil society in Africa and leading innovation and technology firms in the world to discuss and showcase trends in developments in the registration industry.
Broadcast PS Prof Edward Kisiangani and the Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait were also in attendance at the meeting that has brought together at least 25 ministers, secretaries and high-ranking diplomats.