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June 16, 2021
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Ethiopian PM says digital identification vital for Africa’s development

ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday said that digital identification is vital for Africa’s development ambition toward the realization of the global Agenda 2030 and Africa’s continental Agenda 2063.

Ahmed made the remarks at a high-level meeting on the margins of the 11th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa from Nov. 17 to 18.

Ahmed stressed that “digitization is important for Africa’s development,” given the various significant opportunities that would be presented through digital economies for the continent, with the right regulations and safeguards put in place.

The Digital Identity for the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 high-level meeting, co-hosted by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the AU Commission, discusses opportunities, risks and lessons for digital identification in the African context, as well as on the need for Africa to embark on a digital identification drive.

Ahmed also emphasized that it is critical for Africa to optimize opportunities presented through digitization for enhanced trade and movement of people, within the framework of e-governance initiatives.

According to the ECA, while few African countries have already made progress in developing digital ID systems as a basis for legal IDs, “Africa as a whole is yet to fully harness the benefits of digital ID.”

Executive Secretary of ECA Vera Songwe recently announced that the organization and its partners were embarking on a digital ID initiative to support the harmonization and implementation of digital identification platforms in Africa.

According to Songwe, leveraging the ongoing technological revolution on the continent, digital ID will enhance inclusion as well as to facilitate trade in the context of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“Africa cannot continue to make policy in the blind because we do not have the data on our people. The benefits of digital identification are immense and these include political and economic inclusion,” said Songwe.

The joint high-level meeting was organized to help member states accelerate the attainment of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


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