More nations rolling out digital IDs and making it mandatory for citizens to access bank accounts

The nation of Ethiopia has announced it will make the transition to mandatory digital IDs for all citizens, with the chief enforcement tool being the major banks. Using a World Bank-supported digital ID system with standards also approved by an eight-nation working group within the United Nations, all citizens of Ethiopia will need to have a digital ID in order to use banking services in the country by 2025.

This is just the latest evidence that banks are driving the digital identity agenda. We’ll break it all down in this article and show why digital identity must precede digital money in the reset to a completely digital global economy.

Biometric Update reported, “Ethiopia is implementing a World Bank-supported MOSIP-based digital ID project which intends to have all eligible citizens enrolled by 2025. The country also recently contracted IrisGuard to support benefits payments to citizens with iris biometrics.”

So if you want a bank account or wish to access government benefits, you will need a digital ID in Ethiopia. This is the plan for all nations. Eventually, you will need the digital ID to buy and sell and log onto the internet.

Ethiopia follows Canada, Nigeria, China, Finland, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, South Korea, Sri Lanka and a host of other countries that have already rolled out biometric digital identities or are in the process of doing so. Some are mandatory and some still voluntary. This puts them in compliance with United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 16.9. Most of these digital IDs apply to banking, healthcare and other services. Less than a dozen U.S. states also have issued fully digital ID drivers’ licenses containing a person’s facial scan, iris scan or other biometric data, although these are still voluntary and not mandatory.

The World Bank system appears to be the gold standard for a globally recognized digital identity, fulfilling the forecast more than three years ago by World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab that everyone would eventually have a digital identity, and that the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution would “lead to a fusion of our physical, biological and digital identities.”

According to Wikipedia, the World Bank’s entire strategy is “influenced by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, as well as environmental and social safeguards.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where the establishment power elites are heading with this. They need to get the global digital IDs in place and mandated before they roll out the new global digital money system. The two together will combine to form the crux of the global beast system.

The global movement toward digital IDs, which had largely stalled out, was catapulted forward by the Covid crisis.

In April 2022, eight U.N.-member states formed a working group on digital identity tasked with drafting “a set of high-level principles to support the development of mutually recognized and interoperable digital ID systems and infrastructure,” according to a report by the Global Government Forum.

The eight nations leading the way on globalized digital IDs are Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The working group is chaired by Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency. The group was initially formed to allow its members to “share experiences and opportunities for the use of digital identity initiatives, with a focus on the response to and recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 on governments and people.”

In its report, the Digital Government Exchange (DGX) Digital Identity Working Group (DIWG) said its goal is to enhance trade agreements and to “facilitate economic recovery from COVID-19, for example to support the opening of domestic and international borders”.  

The 11 principles call for digital ID infrastructure to be open; transparent; reusable; user-centric; inclusive and accessible; multilingual; secure and private; technologically neutral and compatible with data portability; administratively simple; able to preserve information; and effective and efficient.

“A common set of definitions and universal taxonomy for digital identity is critical to enable mutual recognition of digital identities and interoperability of digital identity systems… This set of common definitions will evolve as trust frameworks and digital identities are further developed,” the report said.

The United Nations’ World Food Program recently announced plans to install biometric checkpoints at food distribution centers in an effort to cut down on the high levels of theft in Ethiopia.

In a further move, the National Bank of Ethiopia announced last week that the national digital ID known as “Fayda” will be mandatory for all citizens in order to use national banking services.

The National ID Program explained the move in a July 10 press release, which states:

The first initiative is set to onboard all financial sector customers onto the digital ID platform in the upcoming fiscal year, offering a more robust and secure financial ecosystem for all parties. The purpose of this initiative will not only benefit the existing customer base, but will increase financial inclusion by removing barriers to entry. This process will follow legal and technical safeguards guided by cybersecurity and personal data protection principles enshrined within the existing legal framework.

As such, a Digital ID will serve as a primary Bank ID and will have legal acceptance in all financial institutions.

By offering a reliable and real-time identity verification system, this new digital ID platform called “Fayda” can serve as a basis for new digital products while mitigating associated financial risks.

The implementation of this National ID as a Bank ID in Ethiopia, will not only help the finance sector, it will also accelerate the country’s transition towards more transparency and inclusion serving as a key pillar for national development plans and journey towards a digital economy.

Just days before this announcement the government’s National ID Program began accepting registrations at eight different banks.

The department said in a statement, “The integration of Fayda ID into the existing financial service provided by banks will have a significant impact on the reduction of fraudulent activities, which is expected to enable banks to save millions in costs also related to manual operations and customer due diligence. It will also reduce the time taken to clearly identify individuals, register their data and provide a more efficient, secure, and reliable service transforming the banking ecosystem.”

In a op-ed piece published in April, Nohaila Ibn El Farouk for the Addis Standard noted that “change is coming to Ethiopian banking,” writing:

“Digital banking solutions can also serve as a catalyst for turning the tide of what has long been the elephant in the room when it comes to African banking: the large percentage of the population is unbanked.

“Like in many other countries in Africa, only a minority of Ethiopian adults have registered for any sort of bank account, but digital banking has proven that it can quickly redress the imbalance.

“Tech solutions are likely to attract not only the expected crowd of young, tech-savvy customers, but also those living in remote or rural areas, where an internet connection is easier to get hold of than a brick-and-mortar bank. With 75% of its population unbanked, the potential for growth in Ethiopian banking is immense.

“Change is coming to Ethiopian banking, bringing with it both risk and opportunity. It is up to the country’s authorities, financial sector, and general population to seize the reins of this transformation and use it to shape the future of Ethiopia. How long until we hear the lion of Ethiopian finance roar again?”

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