Wed, 31 May 2023

Nairobi [Kenya], May 21 (ANI): As Kenya decided to provide digital identity to all Kenyans by February 2024, it can find a good partner in India for digital ID and platforms, owing to New Delhi's expertise in the digital sector.

India is a natural choice for collaboration in the digital ID project of Kenya in particular and digitalization efforts in general.

According to the country's Cabinet Secretary for Information Communication and Digital Economy Eliud Owabo, Kenya's aim of issuing digital cards is to help people to have more easy access to government services.

The project differs from Huduma Namba (Permanent Identification Number and Card) in that there is no ID card associated with it. Digital identity would help only the online identification of Kenyans.

The Kenyan official referred to the successes of digital identity programmes in India, Estonia, Belgium and Pakistan while deciding about digital identity.

Kenya's vision for the digital identity for the nationals derives inspiration from the countries like India, which were appreciated for providing essential social security and welfare support to the masses effectively even during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Digitalisation has also stopped leakages in delivering financial assistance to the poor in India through direct benefit transfers skipping multiple layers of institutions and reducing the time involved in transactions.

Owabo emphasized that the digital identity would interact with the National Information Management System and facilitate a central population database.

All government-held data about Kenyans will be linked to their digital identity, and all public services will be available through digital channels. The digital ID will be linked to the birth-to-death UPI.

India's expertise and experience could help Kenya not only in building population-scale public goods (DPGs) - a set of networked, interoperable utilities like Aadhar, (UID), UPI, eKYC, Account Aggregator (AA), Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN), Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), but also to optimize implementation efficiency of social security and welfare programmes and financial transactions.

Kenya could also seek a Line of Credit (LoC) for multi-platform public digital ID and digital platforms from India, at least part of the estimated cost of USD 100 million. For Kenya, India is a dependable development partner.

Apart from being trade and investment partners, the two countries could also be seen as maritime neighbours. India is among the top six trade partners (bilateral trade USD 2.208) of Kenya and the second largest investor.

There is also a good track record between the two countries in development partnership through the support agricultural mechanization project signed in 2017.

India-Kenya people-to-people ties are also friendly and long-lasting. Given the increasing footfall of tourists in Kenya from India, the two countries' direct flights are being operated in the Mumbai-Nairobi sector since 2019.

India is in fact the third largest source of tourists to Kenya excluding tourists from neighbouring countries. A vibrant community of persons of Indian origin presently number around 80,000 including an estimated 20,000 Indian citizens.

Kenya should explore a greater partnership with India in digital technology. India is now reckoned among the top three digital powers in the world on the basis of people using or involved in its digital networks, the total quantum of business and start-ups and internet networks and mobile penetration. India's expertise in the field is reliable and outstanding.

India could be of great help in Kenya's plan to help it to use its UPI with the NEMIS school platform, the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and National Social Security Fund (NSSF) as it has expertise and experience in doing so with the least time and cost. (ANI)

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