Kenya’s Maisha Number: A Digital Revolution in Identification Unveiled By Ruto’s Government

President William Ruto has announced that a groundbreaking Digital ID platform, known as the Maisha Number, is set to revolutionize identification in the country. The President’s assurance that Kenyans will soon transact using their fingerprints and iris scans has piqued the curiosity of many. Let’s delve into the details and explore what this means for Kenya’s future.

The Digital ID platform, Maisha Number, is on the cusp of becoming operational. With the testing program scheduled to conclude by the end of November, December promises to usher in a new era of identification for Kenyan citizens. This announcement comes after a temporary postponement in September, due to unavoidable circumstances, which raised expectations even further.

“I have been assured by all the stakeholders led by the Ministries concerned that by December we will be able to launch the digital IDs where every Kenyan won’t have to carry any paper, plastic, or otherwise as an ID,” President Ruto affirmed. The shift towards digital identification is a promising move in a world where the convergence of technology and daily life continues to accelerate.

The President highlighted that the rollout of this digitized model of national identification is making steady progress. With the Maisha Number, Kenyans will have the convenience of being digitally identified using their iris or fingerprints, eliminating the need for traditional identification methods. This not only enhances security but also promises a seamless experience in various transactions.

The Maisha Number is not merely a replacement for current national IDs; it represents a comprehensive transformation in how identification works. It will encompass all personal details, including birth certificates, death certificates, Maisha Cards, and even driver’s licenses. What’s even more groundbreaking is that newborns will be assigned a unique number, serving as both their birth certificate and later as an identification number for all government services, including registering deaths.

One noteworthy feature of the Maisha Number is its Machine-Readable Zone, adhering to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. This master database will efficiently manage data for all registered citizens, refugees, and foreigners using fingerprint biometric technology. This not only enhances data accuracy but also consolidates existing independent databases into a single integrated register. It will serve as the central reference for all data related to Kenyan citizens and foreign residents in the country, thus streamlining administrative processes.

In contrast to its predecessor, the Huduma Card, the Digital ID represented by the Maisha Card is a digital representation of an individual, organization, or device. It encompasses personal attributes, credentials, and authentication. This advancement marks a significant departure from past attempts to digitize identity, and it promises a more holistic approach to identification.

The comprehensive rollout of the Maisha Number project has been estimated to take a transition period of 2 to 3 years. This gives Kenyan citizens ample time to adjust to this innovative approach to identification and enjoy its myriad benefits.


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