On 28th August 2014 the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan received his National eID card, heralding the official launch of the eID pilot program in that country.
The national eID card according to what I have read it is a remarkable card considering the functions it has been equipped with. The biometric-based verification card is equipped with an electronic payment solution making it the the broadest financial inclusion program in Africa.
It is reported to be equipped with 13 applications, including MasterCard’s prepaid payment technology and Cryptovision’s biometric identification technology, aimed to provide millions of Nigerians – the majority of whom have never had access to a banking product – with the security, convenience and reliability of electronic payments.
The card will harmonize all identity databases including the Driver’s License, Voter Registration, Health Insurance, Tax, SIM and the National Pension Commission into a single, shared services platform.
Through the collaborative efforts of NIMC (the project lead), MasterCard (payments technology provider), Unified Payment Services Limited (payments processor), Cryptovision (Public Key Infrastructure and Trust Services Provider), and pilot issuing banks including Access Bank Plc, 13 million Nigerians will gain access to state-of-art financial services as part of the pilot program.
This means that Nigerians can deposit funds, receive social benefits, save, or engage in many other financial transactions that are facilitated by electronic payments with the extra security assurance that biometric verification provides with this national eID. They can also pay for goods and services and withdraw cash at millions of merchants and ATMS that accept MasterCard payment cards in Nigeria and globally.
This card is received by all Nigerians aged 16 and above who will have registered for it.
So what are Ugandans getting after all the struggle to register for national ID cards? Are our cards going to be equipped with the same functions as the Nigerians’?
What is Nigerian doing that we Ugandans can’t do? The above technologies are available and usable if only the government requests from the companies that have them.
Why is it hard for our government to realise that technology is the future and we need to get onto the bandwagon and start planning for a future that technology facilitates than keeping data in files and stores in cupboards….