Dashen Bank and the National Identification Card (ID) Program (NIDP) pen MoU in a partnership that will modernize citizens’ identification which is in alignment with the financial inclusion strategy of the government.
As per the agreement that was signed on Friday, May 7, customers of Dashen, one of the top-flight financial institutions in the country, shall easily be included in the registrations to the digital ID system.
In the continent, Ethiopia is one of the least performing nations in terms of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) and the usage of digital platforms.
To improve the status, the government has been introducing different initiatives in the past over a decade, while the issue has only really started gaining traction in the past couple of years.
As per the effort to realize the unique digital ID system NIDP has been engaging in several partnerships with relevant private and public bodies.
Dashen announced that it is committed to the realization of the new scheme that is crucial to benefit the public in financial inclusion.
As per the agreement, the two bodies will work jointly by utilizing resources. The digital ID initiative includes gathering primary data and biometric information that includes photographs, fingerprints and scans.
“Though we have signed the MoU with NIDP formally today, we have been undertaking different processes for system integration that will lead to a pilot project under our branches,” Asfaw Alemu, President of Dashen, said at the signing ceremony, adding, “the initiative needs significant finance so we shall also discuss the issue and see who we could best partner with.”
“So, we are responsible to cooperate with the project to harmonize customers’ identity,” Asfaw said whilst he highlighted how the financial sector’s lack of national ID presented a big challenge for operation in addition to financial security assurance.
In a related development Safaricom Ethiopia also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NIDP to establish a strategic partnership to work together and use the National ID database for mutual benefit.
According to a statement from Safaricom, the agreement allows the parties to design a joint pilot project focusing on providing access to digital identity services, e-KYC verification, and other strategic partnership programs.
Accordingly, Safaricom will lead initiatives in providing the necessary equipment for the pilot and/or project undertaken with the NID program, among other responsibilities.
The statement further quotes the national Digital Strategy of 2025, “so far, the major identification programs for the different segments of the population – Kebele IDs, Tax Identification Number (TIN) cards, Passports, Driver’s license, Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) cards, Birth Certificates which only cover less than half of the population. As a result, every time an individual tries to access a benefit or service, they must undergo a full cycle of identity verification. Different service providers also often have different requirements in the documents they demand, the forms that require filling out, and the information they collect on the individual. Such duplication of effort and ‘identity silos’ increase overall costs of identification and cause extreme inconvenience to the individual.”
With a vision of building a foundational identification platform, the Ethiopian National ID Program has been established as a Program Office under the Office of the Prime Minister with a mission to issue a unique and verifiable digital identity to all Ethiopians and residents of the country by 2025.