The federal government is in the process of launching an ultramodern national identification card issuance system that experts in the field are estimating to cost the country nearly one billion Birr, Fortune learnt.
Seven international IT vendors and security solutions providers are now bidding to win the contract which requires the setting of infrastructure for national ID issuance and administration, which aims at identifying each of the 84 million citizens in the country uniquely. The system will be designed to collect textual and biometrical data of every citizen in a bid to verify individual’s identity, detecting and matching physical characteristics.
This will thus replace the current manual identification cards issued at Kebeles – and most recently Woredas – with electronic identification procedure which experts say addresses a rather flawed security structure.
The electronic IDs will be designed to contain fingerprints and principal residence of the individual, number and signature of the holder. Unlike the current ID, the national electronic IDs will not specify the linguistic cultural (ethnic) origin of the individual but citizenship, according to a source close to the project.
However, when an individual registers in order to obtain one of these IDs, she will surrender various personal information such as full name, including surname, and identifications based on religious affiliation, linguistic cultural belongings and other special identification, if any, according to a proclamation Parliament issued in 2012, which governs the registrations of vital events (dates on birth, death, marriage and divorce) and national IDs.
This Proclamation will make legally mandatory for every Ethiopian citizen of 18 years of age or above to be issued with a national electronic ID.
Such information on citizens will be stored in a central database that could later be linked to database of authorized public institutions for identifying and verifying when requested services. These institutions include banks, transport authorities and municipalities, according to the law.
Â”The national ID by its might helps to identify each person uniquely,” Amha Bekele, IT advisor for Eastern Africa, who currently evaluates a national ID projected launched as a pilot in Mozambique, told Fortune. However, once the system is linked with these institutions, it will enable everything about an individual, including what he owns