(STN-MUQDISHO): _ Somalia has kicked off a new program aimed at providing identification for all Somalis, a government official said on Tuesday.
Nur Dirie Hersi Fursade, Chief Strategist in the Office of the President of Somalia and Head the Digital ID Program, said the Somali National Identity Program, the first of its kind for the Horn of Africa nation, will attempt to implement a foundational identification system based on biometric data.
“The Somali government is rapidly developing governance structures that will be able to respond to citizen needs,” Fursade said in a statement issued after holding a meeting with senior World Bank officials and development partners to brief them on a new government-led program.
He said the National ID systems designed to be the nucleus of a new national identification infrastructure and will act an entry point for service delivery for Somali authorities, civil society, development partners and the private sector.
“Parallel to these developments, we need to make sure that Somali citizens and eligible residents are provided with identification credentials, which will enable access to vital services including aid and money transfer services,” said Fursade.
He said the new ID system acts as an effective and neutral entry point for addressing the effects of the global de-risking agenda by the Somali authorities.
The ID document improves the security situation in the country by enabling law enforcement agencies to verify citizens’ identities. IDs would also play a crucial role in security, displacement and democratization processes.
The Horn of Africa nation has never had a centralized identification system for its citizens and eligible residents, though decentralized manual identification systems were operational in local municipalities prior to 1991.
Fursade said he proposed the World Bank’s role in the Somali National Identity Program, which would include having the Bank support the government in convening stakeholders, and providing technical assistance to support project team.
He said the new ID system aims to promote linkages with delivery of services by the private sector, link IDs with electronic Know Your Customer (KYC) verification in the financial sector and coordinate social protection programs such as unconditional cash transfers.