ID solutions firm Accenture and the World Bank have published a study into how universal ID and biometrics can foster financial inclusion and improve vital services in developing countries.The Identification for Development (ID4D) report identifies an implementation roadmap for developing nations seeking to build, or expand citizen identity programs, regardless of their country's level of technology infrastructure.It states that proof of identity is critical for the poor to gain access to basic services, such as healthcare, social benefits and financial services. Similarly, identities are important for the bottom 40% of the population to have better access to job opportunities, services and finance.The report benchmarks the identity programs of 15 developing countries, including Pakistan, Kenya and Laos, against other world-class identity management systems in countries such as Estonia and Belgium, providing an analysis of existing registries, legal frameworks, processes and program challenges.”Hundreds of millions of people worldwide lack any proof of identity, barring them from receiving vital services such as healthcare, social benefits, financial services and access to voting,” said Randeep Sudan, World Bank Practice Manager for Information and Communication Technologies, Transport and ICT Global Practice at World Bank. “Unfortunately, developing countries frequently invest in identity systems that are disconnected and lack interoperability.”The report notes that one key feature of a robust and integrated national ID system is that it is based on unique ID credentials, commonly achieved using strong biometric identifiers such as 10 fingerprints or two irises.Daniel Baker, Americas lead, Accenture Development Partnerships, said: “The World Bank seeks to establish a standardized integration approach for countries considering cost efficient identity management initiatives, which ensure accuracy and minimize identity duplications and errors.”Accenture Development Partnerships recognizes the important contribution Accenture can make to the ID4D program, by deploying the skills and expertise of our employees to help progress thinking and guide developing nations on best practice national identity programs,” saidThe report proposes an “ID4D integration model” which envisions a universal, multi-purpose system capable of supporting identity services for multiple stakeholders (National, Regional, or International).”A National ID system provides foundational identity services as follows: Unique ID (derived from biometric de-duplication) will be used as the primary key to link identities in disparate databases;Demographic information remains in stakeholder systems – not copied to National ID system beyond the ID4D schema [and] enrollment quality will be assessed to identify quality trends / issues”.As part of this model, an “integration layer” will be used to enable stakeholders to interact through for the common interchange of information among the constituent registries. Stakeholders could also provide services for others to use in the areas of: data management, matching (e.g., identification, verification), operations management and reporting.Randeep Sudan said that identity challenges can be overcome: “through increased collaboration, co-operation between countries and the use of new technologies that can help governments establish unique identities for their residents and manage national identity programs”.”Identity management programs should focus on poor and disadvantaged people who will benefit most from having their identities verified, and the services they need delivered regularly and speedily.”Ger Daly, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Identity Services added; “Accenture's extensive experience delivering biometric and identity management programs for governments, NGO's and private clients worldwide, enabled us to quickly identify accurate, convenient and cost-effective identity management solutions for governments to consider. This work is important to Accenture, and our employees – it truly is work that matters, enabling us to make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world.”Earlier this year, Planet Biometrics reported how Accenture is also working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to deliver a biometric technology system for registering and verifying the identities of displaced persons around the world.Under the terms of a three-year contract, which was secured after a competitive tendering process, UNHCR will deploy Accenture's Biometric Identity Management System (BIMS) across UNHCR global operations.You can read the full report below.