Ethiopia to Issue Digital ID Cards to 9 Million Citizens and Residents

November 20, 2023

Ethiopia is planning to provide digital identity cards to 9 million citizens and residents within the next three years, to improve access to essential services. This initiative is known as the National Identification Programme (NIDP), led by the Office of the Prime Minister.

NIDP has joined forces with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support this initiative and to streamline access to digital documents for migrant returnees, internally displaced people (IDPs), and other vulnerable groups by 2026.  This initiative seeks to ensure that most of the people from Ethiopia can benefit from digital ID cards, reported CAJ New Africa. 

Yodahe Zemichael, NIDP executive director said, “We are working towards making identity-enhanced mobility work”. 

The partnership between NIDP and IOM spans various aspects such as identity management, data protection, and promoting inclusive programs like accessibility, enrollment, verification, and authentication processes. 

Abibatou Wane, IOM Ethiopia’s Chief of Mission, mentioned that the lack of a legal identification framework poses challenges for vulnerable people in accessing basic socio-economic rights and necessities. While highlighting the challenges, he said. “This partnership enhances access to national digital ID for migrants, IDPs, and affected communities,”. 

In 2022, NIDP started enrolling individuals on Fayda ID, the primary identification document in Ethiopia to verify individuals. According to media reports, the program has successfully registered nearly 1.4 million Ethiopian citizens for the Fayda ID till October 2023. 

The implementation and adoption of digital identity are expanding increasingly around the globe, with governments and organizations employing biometric and blockchain-based solutions to enhance security and streamline easy access to various services and platforms. 

The General Service Administration in the US plans to introduce facial recognition technology to, a sign-in service for US citizens to access government services, and to deploy this technology in the upcoming year. The measure is planned to provide a more secure and streamlined experience to enable users to access government services. To ensure this, GSA is updating its digital identity service to verify individuals’ identities rather than using the government ID they’ve previously submitted. 

Along with the governments, other sectors are also putting efforts in the adoption of digital identity to ensure a streamlined user experience. Just recently, FCT, the First Canadian Title Company Limited, announced the launch of ‘Client ID Verification’ an identification tool to serve legal professionals in Canada. The tool was developed by making use of the eID-MeTM application by Bluink to show adherence to Canadian Identity Verification Standards.