Zambia reaches key milestone in digital ID transformation

Announced at the ID4Africa event in Cape Town, a World Bank advisor noted Zambia digitized 81% of paper ID cards in three months, aiming for completion by July.

Concept for facial recognition, biometric, security system or deepfake dangers.

Zambia has taken a step forward in modernising its legal and digital identity system by digitising the records of around 7 million people. This milestone is part of an effort across African nations to enhance their digital public infrastructure (DPI) and ID systems. Government initiatives were presented during the ID4Africa annual event, focusing on DPI, held in Cape Town, South Africa.

A senior technical advisor for the World Bank reported on LinkedIn that Zambia had digitised 81 percent of its paper ID cards in three months. This digitisation aims for completion by July, and it is expected to reduce enrollment time and costs, simplify identity verification, and strengthen the biometric database. Zambia has also collected biometric records for 1.3 million people despite delays due to a severe drought.

Why does it matter?

Among other African nations, Namibia and Tanzania are also expanding their DPI and broadening the use of their national IDs across more sectors, though at a different pace than Zambia. According to Etienne Maritz, Executive Director of the Ministry of Home Affairs of Namibia, legal identity enables inclusive development and access to financial services. Since February, Namibia’s national registration campaign has already issued ID documents to 38,000 people. In Tanzania, the government integrates its digital ID and civil registration systems to improve governance, involving the merger of responsible government bodies.