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Namibia at the forefront with unique digital identity system

Namibia at the forefront with unique digital identity system

Staff Reporter

NAMIBIA is one of six countries in the world featured in a flagship study to showcase its progress, lessons learned and share good practices in designing and building an integrated Civil Registration, Vital Statistics, and Identity System.

 

The Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Frans Kapofi, launched a Compendium of Good Practices in Linking Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and Identity Management Systems at the 5th Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration which was hosted by the Government of Zambia, in Lusaka.

 

The Compendium describes the experiences of six countries that have each taken different pathways to integrate their civil registration, vital statistics, and identity systems. The purposes are to document and share global good practices, and create awareness of the importance of taking a holistic approach to identity management. In this instance Namibia is featured alongside Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, Ecuador and Peru.

 

Namibia was selected because the Government has undertaken a thorough step-by-step process to digitize most of its Civil Registration functions, and to integrate these with Identity Document Production System, which was first introduced in 1996. Integrating Civil Registers with the ID system has led to tremendous improvements in ensuring accurate identity data, and effective service delivery. The system is the foundation for Namibia’s e-governance programme which relies on this integrated system to authenticate identities when services are delivered to the people, and to make sure that the government always has access to correct and up-to-date identity Information.

 

At the launch Minister Kapofi stressed that he has no doubt this compendium will serve as a valuable resource, now and in the years to come, for all stakeholders working to improve people’s lives in Africa. He also expressed his appreciation that Namibia has been awarded the opportunity to showcase its integrated civil registration, identity management, and vital statistics system as a globally recognized good practice.

 

“Most African Nations share common struggles and challenges. Inspite of these, African Nations are now establishing unique systems, processes and institutions. It has not been a walk in the park to initiate, design, implement and maintain these vital systems and processes. Resources; that is financial and human, are always scarce, hence international support is highly appreciated,” Minister Kapofi said

 

The Compendium was published by the Centre of Excellence for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems housed at Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD).

 

Pictured: Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Frans Kapofi. Photo: Contributed

Minister Kapofi’s full speech at the launch in Lusaka earlier on Friday reads as follows:

It is my distinct honour to stand before you today to launch the Compendium of Good Practices in Linking Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and Identity Management Systems. I am very happy that Namibia is one of six country case studies featured, and that we were selected to showcase our progress and lessons towards designing and building an integrated Civil Registration, Vital Statistics, and Identity System.

 

In the past eight years, Namibia has undertaken a very thorough step-by-step process to digitize most of our Civil Registration functions, and to integrate these with our ID Production System, which was first introduced in 1996. Integrating our Civil Registers with the ID system has led to tremendous improvements in terms of ensuring accurate identity data and effective service delivery. Births and deaths can be registered in any of our offices, and these are electronically linked to Health facilities and Police Mortuaries that are responsible for notifying these events.

 

Equally important is that this system is also integrated with our National Population Register which is the foundation for our e-governance programme. These capabilities were developed in-house by Namibians, for Namibia. Early on, it became clear to us that you cannot build an e-governance program if your civil registration and identity system is unable to provide correct and up-to-date identity Information.

 

The Compendium describes the experience of six countries from around the world that all took different pathways to integrate their civil registration, vital statistics, and identity systems.

The objective of the compendium is twofold:
1. First, to document and share good practices from real experiences building robust, well-functioning, and trust- worthy Civil Registration, Vital Statistics and Identity Systems; and,

 

2. Second, to provide evidence of the benefits of taking a holistic and integrated approach to identity management.

 

Across the studies from Armenia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, Namibia, and Peru, there are several recurring messages. The information that can be gathered from a complete and accurate Civil Registration System is the most effective foundation for managing an Identity System. This is because the Identity System depends on the up-date identity information that is captured in the Civil Registration System.

 

Meanwhile, the Civil Registration System equally relies on information captured in the Identity System. For example, the civil registration system benefits from the identity data of a child’s parents when registering their birth. In other words – these systems are mutually dependent and supportive. It is also important to remember that public and private service providers depend on Identity Authorities to provide unique and up-to-date identity data for every resident so that they can execute their mandates.

 

I would like to thank all the experts and government officials who provided the information and materials to realise the development and publication of this project. This includes, in particular, the authors, and multiple reviewers of the synthesis document and the six country studies. I encourage you all to read the Compendium and to find inspiration from these good practices and lessons learned, and I hope these are helpful to you as you each navigate your different routes to building your own Civil Registration, Vital Statistics and Identity System.

 

I have no doubt that this compendium will serve as a valuable resource, now and in the years to come, for all stakeholders working to improve people’s lives.

 

My sincere thanks to the Government of Zambia for giving us the opportunity to use this esteemed Ministerial Conference platform to share our experience and knowledge in this important field.

 

As I am talking, hard copies of the Synthesis Paper are being distributed in English and French. Copies are also available in the Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems booth. All of the country case studies, and the full Compendium, will shortly be available online at CRVSsystems.ca/ID compendium.

 

Last, but not least, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data for leading this project, and for giving us the opportunity to share our experiences with others around the world.

 

Distinguished Delegates, as was continuously emphasized throughout this Fifth International Conference; most African Nations share common struggles and challenges. Inspite of these, African Nations are now establishing unique systems, processes and institutions. So too is the case for Namibia. It has not been a walk in the park to initiate, design, implement and maintain these vital systems and processes. Resources; financial and human, are always scarce, hence international support is highly appreciated.

 

It is now my pleasure to declare the Compendium officially launched. I thank you for your attention.

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