About four years ago, the ICT and Interior Coordination of National Government ministries announced their plan to get rid of dumb ID cards for digital replacements with biometric information. The process was to be preceded by a digital database to offer the state up to date and extra information about its people. At the same time, the exercise aimed to augment planning and deployment of administrative functions, including enhanced abilities in identifying non-citizens with criminal intent.
The latter function is still a menace for the country as the Kenya is yet to address security challenges fully. At the same time, the consolidation of all current register of persons into a single national register may have consumed more time than expected since the modernized identification cards were unavailable by the time the nation went to polls twice last year.
It appears that the process is approaching completion as locals will be issued with the technologically advanced IDs from 2019. The unique cards will be embedded with key user information including social security, health insurance, taxation and driver licence details.
It is worth noting that this development aids to improve cross-border movement for Kenyans that traverse the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region. Border facilitators will only need to scan the document to allow entry, easing movement in the process.
Uganda and Tanzania will also deploy the technology for their citizens in coming days. All development aim to improve migration.
Building a national digital ID system is a complex process that depends on collaboration between multiple authorities such as NTSA, insurance companies, among others in the private sector. Details about the collaboration are still scanty, and so is information about the establishment of trusted frameworks to protect the data of Kenyan citizens.