It’s second time lucky for the revival of Kenya’s digital identity programme.

The Huduma Number scheme, pursued by the previous administration, was blocked as it conflicted with and violated the KDPA. Coinciding with the inception of the first Huduma Centre in Kenya, the flagship project encapsulating Kenya’s Vision 2030 was launched by Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013 as part of the Mid-term plan for 2013-17.

The incoming digital identity programme is likely to echo past initiatives in facilitating registration processes and consolidating a master database that holds a single record of someone’s identity. While announcing that digital IDs would be delivered for Kenyans in 2023, President Ruto stopped short of describing the programme’s focus more than on digital identity. Comparisons will undoubtedly be made with the Huduma Namba scheme, but be rethought to pass the courts this time around in terms of data protection.

“I don’t want to call it Huduma Namba! Let’s look at it from a conceptual perspective. What we’re talking about here is a digital identity. You can call it Huduma Number, you can call it any other name.”

The Ministry of ICT will begin working on a digital identity for Nigeria to onboard citizens and allow access to government services. Deploying the first mobile digital infrastructure in Africa with a suite of digital ID services, Nigeria is the Africa’s largest country circulating over 21.15 million IDs to citizens.

“We can finally have a scanner, a digital identity. By the end of this year (2023), Kenyans must be able to identify themselves digitally”.