Ethiopia Progresses Towards Implementation of Digital IDs

Ethiopia edges closer to adopting digital IDs
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Ethiopia, with its population of 120 million, has taken a significant step toward embracing digital IDs, also known as Fayda, by selecting Madras Security Printers Private Limited as its partner for producing these crucial documents.

Madras Security Printers Private Limited secured the contract with a bid valued at $300,000 and is now tasked with producing one million digital IDs, or Fayda cards. These digital identity documents will include biometric data, enabling Ethiopians to access various public services and verify their identities when opening new bank accounts.

An additional contract for data storage related to the digital ID system is reportedly under consideration. During the trial phase, Tech5’s biometric engine and digital ID issuance software were tested, aligning with the requirements of a digital identity law that mandates well-organized personal data accessible to relying parties and securely stored in designated databases.


In 2022, the National Identity Program (NDIP) initiated the enrollment process for the Fayda ID, which serves as Ethiopia’s foundational identification document for identity verification. Over 1.4 million Ethiopians have already been registered for the Fayda ID by the NDIP.

Currently, the Kebele ID, primarily used for determining an individual’s place of residence, enjoys the highest adoption rate among various identification documents in Ethiopia. ID4D estimates that between 90% and 95% of adults use Kebele IDs. These IDs are complemented by other functional identification documents such as driver’s licenses and international passports for identity verification.

Ethiopia Enacts Digital Identity Law:

Ethiopia passed the Digital Identity Proclamation Bill into law in March 2023, joining the ranks of African nations transitioning to digital identification systems, including Kenya and Uganda.

This digital ID legislation is poised to help Ethiopia establish a robust citizen registration system, covering essential aspects such as registration procedures, authentication services, the institutional framework, data security, privacy protection, and legal consequences for breaches. The move is expected to modernize Ethiopia’s ID system and promote inclusivity.

Banking Services Linked to Digital IDs:

The National Bank of Ethiopia, in conjunction with the National Identity Program, has announced plans to utilize the national digital ID, Fayda, for all financial transactions. In 2017, only about 34.83% of Ethiopia’s adult population, or fewer than 24 million people, held bank accounts.

This initiative will require bank customers to use Fayda IDs for onboarding, with the National Bank of Ethiopia, the nation’s central bank, reaffirming its intention to make Fayda the primary ID for banking operations.

Kenya’s Upcoming Digital IDs:

Kenya is also gearing up to introduce digital identity documents for its citizens. Some details have emerged about the forthcoming digital ID system, set to launch this month. The system will employ unique personal identifiers (UPI) incorporating advanced security features such as iris and facial biometrics and fingerprint identification, similar to existing identity documents. These new IDs will replace the Huduma Namba, which was launched by the previous administration in 2018 but faced challenges.

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