Why We Invested: World Bank Group Identification for Development (ID4D) Multi-donor Trust Fund

December 12, 2017

Participating in modern society and the digital economy increasingly relies on the ability to prove who we are. For an estimated 1.1 billion people around the world, primarily in Africa and Asia, lack of access to officially recognized identification credentials means lack of access to vital government and financial services, education, healthcare, and commercial opportunities. Recognizing this problem, UN SDG 16.9 sets the global goal of providing “Legal Identity for All” by 2030.

As countries from India to Estonia develop innovative new ways to use technology in pursuit of this goal, global momentum on the topic of digital identity has accelerated. But as demand growsthe World Bank currently has over $750M worth of active and pipeline ID-related lending projects the stakes grow too. The rules of the game are just starting to be written: What technology should be used?  How should identity systems be governed? What policies are necessary to protect user data?

We believe the answers to these questions will lay the foundation for "good identity" for all, ensuring that digital identity systems and programs empower people through inclusion, privacy and user control

The World Bank Group’s Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative is at the forefront of advancing this agenda. Launched in 2014, ID4D is shaping and driving the sector in many ways, including by leading the collaborative development of Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development, which are now endorsed by 22 global stakeholders. Additionally, ID4D’s thought leadership has filled gaps in sector knowledge, and their technical assistance and support of south-south exchanges have amplified government capacity. Yet, as demand grows and practices evolve, it is clear there is still much more work to be done in ensuring that ID programs are safe and empowering for individuals. 

For these reasons, Omidyar Network is pleased to announce that we have joined the World Bank Group and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of ID4D. Through this grant, we seek to further ID4D’s efforts to support the development of robust, inclusive, and responsible national identification systems.

Our funding will support each of ID4D’s mutually reinforcing pillars of work: thought leadership & analytics, global platforms & convening, and country and regional engagement. In particular, it will enable the addition of the following efforts to the portfolio:

  1. ID Enabling Environment Assessment (IDEEA) - for privacy, data protection and inclusion: ID4D is working to support governments in the development of legal frameworks and good practices to promote trust in the design, implementation, and use of digital identification, particularly in the areas of data security, individual privacy and data protection, nondiscrimination, and inclusion. This framework will be operationalized at the country level and disseminated widely across a range of stakeholders.

  2. Research on identification for marginalized groups - end user experience: To date, little systematic research has been done on the needs, perspectives, and behavior of individuals. This research will build on the work of the Identities Project, exploring how people think about and use identity credentials in their daily lives, as well as the practical challenges they encounter.

  3. Updating and strengthening the ID4D Global Dataset: The ID4D Global Dataset of 198 economies will be updated annually and developed further to ensure relevance, accuracy and impact, including the methodology for producing statistics on the coverage of official identification systems.

We look forward to deepening our partnership with ID4D, and to learning together as we seek to impact this dynamic and complex sector. As Omidyar Network continues to build our Digital Identity portfolio, this partnership will be central to our efforts to improve lives and empower people through good identity.

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