Today over a billion people all over the world are unable to prove their identity when dealing with administrative bodies. This figure is double that recorded in 2015, which means that the existence of one person in seven is not officially recorded anywhere: no birth certificate, no identity card issued or any other official identity document available. Close to half of these 'invisible' people live in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia also has a high proportion of the unregistered as well. Now the World Bank has set to remedy this situation with digital technology. The Identification For Development (ID4D) programme is designed to help this lost section of the world's population to reintegrate into society. The basic aim is to enable them to obtain official employment and sign up for services such as education, healthcare, legal assistance and financial services. After all, people without an official identity are not normally entitled to open a bank account or apply for a loan. One possible solution is to record your biometric data. In Pakistan, biometric data technology is now helping the emancipation of women by enabling them to receive money transfers and dispose of the funds as they wish. In Nigeria, the government has set up a system of national identity numbers which entitle citizens to a 'smartcard' that doubles as a bank card. With a governing council of nine experts and over $500 million already invested in this project in African countries, the goal of the ID4D initiative is to ensure that everyone in the world has an official identity by 2030, thus helping to move along the path to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations Organisation in 2015.
By Marie-Eléonore Noiré