Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Digital Inclusion

Implementing and Securing Digital Identities: An Imperative in a Dematerialized World

Article Image
Is there still a need to emphasize how digital technologies have turned our interactions and consumption patterns inside out? Their capacity to facilitate trade and promote economic development is urging governments to show a growing interest in the implementation of a digital society, and for good reason: This increasingly dematerialized environment allows citizens to virtually access multiple services, such as healthcare, education and financial services.

However, access to these services requires citizens to prove their identity online. In the context of the current digital revolution, the issue of digital identity is crucial. Indeed, digital identities enable citizens to participate actively in the digital economy and to integrate into the real economy, in the many countries where civil status is failing. It also enables them to certify their identity when they want to acquire property or benefit from an online service. Furthermore, digital identification can significantly enhance financial inclusion, by allowing unbanked citizens to access formal banking services.

To meet this need for digital authentication, a first approach involves consolidating a national database of all the mobile network operators' (MNOs) subscribers. This approach is particularly relevant given the penetration rate of mobile telephony throughout the world, including in emerging countries, as evidenced in Africa.

This is the rationale behind the development of GVG's digital remittance oversight and SIM registration platforms. The latter links each registered SIM card to a specific user, thus allowing the regulator and the MNOs to monitor, verify and update SIM card ownership information, in order to fight fraud. As for the former, it identifies users in the digital world and verifies information about remittance service users, such as their name and potential criminal record, which helps to determine whether a transaction can be considered as compliant or not. It also enables the systematic application of anti-money laundering rules as defined by the authorities of the country concerned.

Against the background of the drive for digital inclusion, digital identities guarantee privacy and online security, which are two essential conditions for the advent of a dematerialized society. But they have many other assets, both for the citizens and the governments. For instance, they give the latter the opportunity to increase their GDP by facilitating digital commerce, an essential lever for economic development. Besides significant cost-savings from public service optimization, associated with a micro-tax applied to any public service accessible online, such as the provision of identity documents or marriage certificates, they could provide governments with additional income that could then be reinvested in various infrastructures and development programs.

Raul Vahisalu, GVG Vice-President of Technology.
Raul Vahisalu, GVG Vice-President of Technology.

By developing solutions underpinned by digital identification, thus guaranteeing the security of the communication between the citizens and the various online service providers, GVG intends to contribute to the creation of a secure, transparent and inclusive digital ecosystem in the telecoms and fintech sectors, as well as to making digital technology a major lever of growth and development in Africa.

— Raul Vahisalu, GVG Vice-President of Technology.

Innovation hub


SA startup Sendoff is digitizing funerals

South African startup Sendoff is a full-service funeral app that is digitizing the way funerals are organized.


SA's Homemation wants smart homes to be seamless

Through its Control4 operating system, South Africa's Homemation highlights that operating smart homes should be a seamless experience.

More Innovation hub

Partner perspectives

5G is lighting up the future of North Africa
By Chris Meng, VP of Huawei Northern Africa Carrier Business Department

The moving target that is telecoms fraud
By Clémentine Fournier, Regional VP Sales, Africa, BICS

How mobile operators in Africa can address signalling threats and secure the network
By Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud and Security at BICS

All Partner Perspectives

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: June 2022

By Omdia Analysts

5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.


Omdia View: May 2022

By Omdia Analysts

SpaceX-owned Starlink's plans to launch a satellite broadband service in Africa was a major highlight in May 2022, says Omdia's analysts.

More Guest Perspectives

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival
November 7-11, 2022
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Africa Green ICT: Lighting Up a Sustainable Continent

The ICT industry is the leading industry in the commitment to carbon neutrality, whose focus has shifted from setting ambitious targets to taking initiatives. The push for zero-carbon and for green energy development, it isn't just about CSR – it's also good for sustainable business.

The path to sustainable development requires green energy. Governments are looking at potential policy approaches to make green energy more widely available and affordable. Without sustainable energy, there will be no digital transformation and no chance of making Africa more economically competitive in the post-pandemic era.

Africa Green ICT Webinar 2022 will bring together ICT industry leaders and senior industrial analysts to provide insight, best practices and key learnings on how to achieve zero-carbon targets and practice green development in Africa.

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

AfricaCom perspectives


Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.


Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.


How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up