A student revises for weeks for the final exam to finish secondary school, yet is barred from taking the test. A 65-year-old woman meets the criteria to receive her retirement pension, but is unable to claim the benefit. A man saves to send money home, but can’t complete the financial transaction. What do all of these people have in common? They do not have official identification.
Almost half of those living in sub-Saharan Africa — approximately 500 million people — do not have proof of legal identity.
The repercussions of this pass by unnoticed and often go unreported by the press. IDs are taken for granted by those who have them. But lack of identification creates formidable barriers for each individual affected and creates even larger barriers for the countries they live in. Without strong identification systems, countries can struggle to deliver vital services to people, eliminate duplicate or inefficient programmes, and govern effectively. Identification systems form an essential part of a society’s foundation; building a social contract between governments and citizens requires strong identification systems and reliable databases