Sierra Leone's President Julius Maada Bio has announced that his government is developing a blockchain-based digital ID system. Bio explained that the project was already in the first phase where all identity records are being digitised. In the subsequent phase, every person will be issued a unique, non-duplicated and non-reusable national identity number. The system is planned to be up and running by 2020.
The project is a partnership between Sierra Leone and the UN. It is being implemented by fintech firm Kiva and will have a financial inclusion component. Credit history will be recorded on the digital ID, allowing people to access credit instantly.
Sierra Leone has an Internet penetration rate of about 15% while 75% of the population is unbanked. The president acknowledged the need for awareness of the benefits of digital ID. He also stated that the ID administration agency, the National Civil Registration Authority, will keep the information collected confidential.