Kenya on Tuesday approved the rollout of digital IDs aimed at reducing identity fraud, scheduled to begin Sept. 29, a government official said.
Julius Bitok, principal secretary in the State Department of Immigration and Citizen Services, told journalists in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi that the government has set aside 1 billion Kenyan shillings (about 6.83 million U.S. dollars) for the exercise that will boost access to services online.
“Digital IDs will replace the current second-generation national IDs, and we expect the transition period to last between two and three years,” Bitok said.
Bitok said all citizens who turn 18 years old and apply for national IDs will be issued digital IDs from Sept. 29.
He noted that the digital ID will have a new unique personal identifier number that will be assigned to each individual and will be the personal identity from birth to death.
He added that the digital ID will also be available digitally on the mobile phone, eliminating the need to carry a physical card.
Bitok stressed that the government is also prioritizing the digital ID because it contains a machine-readable zone that embeds personal data and facilitates automated verification of documents to enable Kenya to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization standards.