Review of National Identity Programs

May 1, 2016

The status and characteristics of 48 national identity programs and initiatives in 43 developing countries were reviewed, including an evaluation of how these programs are being connected to—or used for— service provision. The identity programs reviewed are mainly government-issued national IDs. However, other types of national identity programs with links to various services including voter cards, passports, and two programs targeting the poor and the banking population were also reviewed. Following a brief review of the roles of identity systems in development and recent identity system trends, an overview of the 48 national identity programs, including technical features (such as whether physical identities incorporate an electronic component or are embedded with biometric features), implementation status, population enrollment strategies, and coverage is presented in the report. The implementation challenges around accountability, privacy, data management, enrollment, coverage, cost, and harmonization of identity programs were also reviewed. Finally, the functional applications of national identity programs, reporting how these programs are linked with services in finance, health, agriculture, elections, and other areas, and analyzing whether particular identity program characteristics are associated with functional applications are discussed in the report.

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