By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA—President Muhammadu Buhari has charged African leaders to use National Identity Number, NIN, to enhance democratization process on the continent.
President Buhari gave the charge yesterday while declaring open the 4th Annual Electronic Forum on Identity in Africa (ID4Africa2018), tagged: Harmonization of Identity Scheme, holding in Abuja.
The President, who was represented on the occasion by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said Africa needed to embrace NIN to be able to drive its resources by making digital identity infrastructure more efficient and creating enabling environment for talented African youths to tap emerging technologies.
He averred that Nigeria and, by extension, Africa must leverage on its digital identity as a reliable tool for socio-economic development.
With the advent of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning techniques, and robotic machines, he said now was the time to build ecosystem that will enhance security on the continent and prevent wasteful expenditure.
President Buhari said: “My charge to you is that NIN should be used to enhance the democratic process in Africa in the immediate future. Africa needs to embrace NIN … over driving in the use of resources by making digital identity management infrastructure efficient thereby creating an enabling environment for talented African youths to tap into these technologies.
“With the advent of disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, now is the time to build ecosystem that will enhance continent wide security, minimize fraud and wasteful expenditure.
“Identity forms the nucleus of our daily activities, cutting across sectors of the economy. As a responsible government, we are extremely aware the importance of gravitating towards digital identity.
“The International community, especially the developed countries, has adopted identity as a tool for transformation of governance and service delivery in areas such as transportation, financial inclusion, immigration, healthcare, social safety nets, agriculture, and security and so on.
“The importance of the summit in optimizing the benefits of digital identity and leveraging its use for accelerated development prompted Nigeria’s decision to host the summit,” he added.
The President also announced that Federal Government has set a target to grow the database of NIN from 28 million to 50 million by December 2018 and subsequently to 70 million by December 2019.