Kenya Govt Pushes For Banks, Telcos to Authenticate Customer Data With Central IPRS Database


In March, the government launched the Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS) set to serve as the single one stop shop for personal information and biometric for both locals and foreigners. The concept was an idea on paper for 21 years having been proposed in 1989 but kicked off in 2010. The main aim of the system seeks to provide a comprehensive database for all citizens and enrich national security.

The government has now through the Central Bank of Kenya issued strict guidelines to banks and telecommunication companies to confirm customers’ identity card numbers using the system before registering them.  The directive is meant to curb money laundering and financing of terrorist activities.  The IPRS provides a 360 degree view, allowing these institutions to authenticate documents by citizens or identify Kenyans by matching their biometric and photographic details with documents in their possession.

The Telcos will be required to link their systems and Sim Card registration platforms with the IPRS, after which registration of new SIM cards or accounts after counter-checks on the identity of the owner with the register. The system has already been deployed in financial institutions including Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) that uses the platform to conduct Know Your Customer (KYC) in all their money transfer channels. Other organizations such as National Social Security Fund (NSSF), National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Higher Education and Loans Board (HELB) have adopted it.

The IPRS project was undertaken in tranches with the first phase seeking to create a master database using details from the elections register, tax register, drivers register, National Social Security Fund (NSSF) register, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) register and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). This data compounds with critical information on individuals ranging from birth to death register, citizenship, ID card, passport, marriage and alien register.