Kenya Embarks on Third Generation Digital ID Roll-Out: Ensuring Security and Accessibility for All

In an effort to improve effectiveness and make government services more efficient, is about to experience a significant digital change with the introduction of third generation digital Identity Card. This big step forward in managing digital identity for Kenyans will bring with it many advantages such as making it easier for people to access important services while protecting their personal information.

Julius Bitok, the Cabinet Secretary for Immigration and Citizen Services, has promised that during the transition period, the government will keep their data secure. He spoke at the Network of Africa Data Protection Authorities (NADPA) Conference while highlighting how the government is following all regulatory frameworks as well as legal requirements to make certain citizen’s data remains safe and private.

Bitok has shown how they have been working hard to evaluate and decrease data protection dangers linked with the launch of digital ID’s. They have joined forces with the Office of Data Commissioners, doing more than 10 data impact protection assessments which ensures that rules are followed, and citizen’s data is kept safe.

Bitok confirmed that the change from the old generation ID to third generation digital ID will not exclude or discriminate anyone. He gave assurance to Kenyans that no one would face marginalization because of their capability in getting a new digital identification card, emphasizing on how government is dedicated towards fairness and availability.

The digital ID ecosystem is already being built, as shown by the more than 13 million people who have registered on e-Citizen. Bitok noted that it’s a great step forward with an estimated average daily enrollment of 30,000 a move that is expected to bring Kenya nearer to full coverage in digital IDs for all its citizens.

The impact on finances is also an important part of the digital change, as e-Citizen system now gathers more than Sh700 million every day. Bitok revealed the government’s big goals to enhance daily collections up to Sh2 billion, showing the increasing acceptance of digital services by Kenyans.

The heart of this change is the ‘Maisha ecosystem,’ consisting of four parts that are linked together to offer easy access to government services. The Maisha number which was supposed to be given when a person is born, will work as an identification for life in different areas such as education, health care and social security.

The Maisha card, which is a smart card containing the Maisha number, shows the start of making identification digital. Also, the virtual Maisha Digital suggests an alternative that uses mobile phones to access services for those who do not have physical cards.

The Maisha integrated database, a crucial part of the digital ID ecosystem, helps in making different government agencies and services work together smoothly. Bitok stressed on the significance of connectivity: attempts are being made to guarantee internet access countrywide, especially in rural locations.

Regarding data security, Bitok repeated that the government is dedicated to safeguarding personal information on every digital platform. The systems are strong, with strict protection for data and continuous audits as well as citizen privacy will remain to be an important focus.

Bitok said the government, together with the Ministry of ICT, is leading projects that aim to improve digital identity, interoperability, and payment integration. Bitok highlighted how important digital identity is for Kenya’s digital transition. He sees this as a significant step forward towards making government services more effective and easier to use.

Kassait, the Data Protection Commissioner, confirmed that the government is proactive about protecting data. She mentioned continuous efforts in giving advice and training to ensure safety of citizen information.

The NADPA Conference was a space for cooperative involvement, where more than 20 African nations gathered to share thoughts and methods for improving data protection in Africa.

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