The fourth industrial revolution and the growth of the digital economy has the potential to create significant economic opportunities for individuals. Not only have we seen the number of digital jobs increase, but we have also seen a large number of jobs gain new digital content which it did not have before. Identity is increasingly intermediated through digital platforms allows people to enact their citizenship.
Identity is crucial for individuals, businesses and governments to mitigate risk, access financial services and engage with the digital economy.
This week Cenfri is attending the 5th annual event of the ID4Africa movement under the theme Identity Ecosystems for Service Delivery. ID4Africa is an ID-4-All movement that accompanies African countries on their journey to design robust and inclusive identity systems. This is an initiative that Cenfri is proud to be part of, since access to legal identity is paramount for participation in the digital economy. Yet, 45% of people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to a legal identity (ID4D, 2018).
In the financial sector we have seen a number of KYC related innovations to make the ecosystem more inclusive. For example, in Brazil GPS data is used to consensually track bank clients to establish proof of address. South Africa’s updated FICA regulation has done away with proof of address as a requirement all together. Biometrics also holds a lot of potential to lower KYC barriers. The Bank Verification Number used in Nigeria is a prime example of how biometrics can be used to drive inclusion.
Our FSD Africa funded work in financial integrity seeks to understand the viability of KYC innovations in various contexts. We work with regulators and financial institutions to understand how their ecosystems could be inclusive by implementing innovative KYC solutions. Without inclusive ecosystems, broad-based economic growth will remain out of reach particularly in a digital economy in which global competition is more pronounced.