The Kenyan government has announced its plans to launch its digital identification system in December this year.
The government revealed the news, highlighting the system’s benefits and its role in digitising the country’s administrative processes and improving access to various resources for citizens.
The President of Kenya, William Ruto, spoke at the East Africa Device Assembly Kenya plant in Athi River:
“The digital ID, which has been a major problem to us for a very long time, is now on testing mode for the next two months. I have been assured by all the stakeholders and the ministries concerned that by December we will be able to launch digital IDs.”
What is Maisha Namba?
Maisha Namba, a unique personal identification number, will be allocated to Kenyan citizens upon registration, usually at birth.
This identifier will remain with them throughout their lives, serving as their birth certificate number for newborns and transforming into an official ID number once they come of age at 18.
The system will also double as their Personal Identification Number (PIN) for accessing various government services, including KRA, NSSF, NHIF, and NEMIS.
The government emphasises that this comprehensive database will utilise fingerprint biometric technology, ensuring heightened data accuracy and reliability for all registered citizens, refugees, and foreign individuals.
Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok said:
“It will consolidate existing independent databases into a single integrated register, serving as the central reference for all data related to Kenyan citizens and foreign residents in the country”
The introduction of Maisha Namba is expected to streamline administrative procedures and facilitate faster access to essential services such as government, education, and healthcare resources.
Private Sectors to Embrace Digital ID
In August, Principal Secretary of Immigration and Citizen Services, Julius Bitok mentioned:
“The digital identity system will provide Kenyans with a secure and reliable way to verify their identity for a variety of purposes, including accessing gov’t services, opening bank accounts, and traveling […] It will also help to reduce fraud and corruption, and improve efficiency.”
In September, he encouraged private businesses to embrace the digital ID systems, emphasising their potential to revolutionise various aspects of e-commerce, including mobile banking and agent networks.
He reassured that the government is focused on designing the digital ID to simplify commercial activities and enhance business transactions.
Countries Implemented Digital ID
Digital identification systems have garnered significant attention globally, with various countries adopting them for their numerous benefits.
Countries such as Singapore’s digital ID framework has facilitated seamless access to government services, ensuring efficient and secure interactions between citizens and the government.
Similarly, countries like Sweden, Belgium, and Norway have integrated digital ID systems to enhance security, simplify administrative procedures, and promote digital inclusivity, ultimately fostering more efficient and accessible public services for their populations.