Aid and independence
While standardization has advantages, many developing nations have an additional set of drivers for embracing advanced ID solutions.
In the case of national ID cards, at least some of the impetus comes from agencies providing economic or humanitarian aid, such as the World Bank. To facilitate loans, interest-free credits, and grants in its fight against poverty, the World Bank needs access to trusted data – and lots of it. “The establishment of a clear profile of the demographics of a country – its citizens’ age distribution, gender, population spread, and so on – is a prerequisite for such aid, and that is data you only get when you have reliable, secure identities in the form of national ID documents,” says Dr. Lemma.
The modernizing of ID documents in many developing nations is also aspirational. Countries have an eye on creating the infrastructure and technical expertise that will ultimately allow them to fulfill all their own ID document needs – independently and locally. “When it comes to ID document infrastructure, many developing nations want to become independent from a technical perspective,” says Dr. Lemma. “They want to work with their identity solutions partner to establish all the necessary skills, the new jobs, and the infrastructure locally, in order to launch long-lasting and sustainable solutions.”
That is just one of the reasons the Ugandan government established a joint venture with Veridos when it set out to modernize the country’s ID documents. With the Uganda Security Printing Company, it embarked on creating a facility in Entebbe, some 40 kilometers south of Kampala, for the creation of an array of integrated ID documents – including ePassports, national identity cards, and driver’s licenses.
That agreement between the two companies, reached in 2018, runs for 15 years. Apart from local production, one of the main goals is to build local capacity and a trained workforce so that the operation, maintenance, and management of the factory is progressively transferred to local skilled personnel, enabling a smooth exit of Veridos at the end of the 15-year period.
In Bangladesh, secure electronic passports are already produced for Bangladeshi citizens within the country’s own borders. And thanks to the installation of the first of a series of eGates at the country’s principal airport in Dhaka, travelers can now verify their identities using state-of-the-art ePassports.
Again, comprehensive know-how transfer is key, with local employees trained in the technologies and procedures by Veridos.
Elsewhere, in Cameroon, a key government tech focus has been on voting. A partnership between ELECAM (Elections Cameroon) and Veridos has helped craft a decentralized, mobile system designed to enhance voter registration and manage voter data. The end-to-end solution covers the entire process, from voter enrollment and data management to the issuance of biometric voter IDs. Veridos provides the technology while ELECAM operates the system as part of a 10-year deal.