Kenya’s President Ruto Announces Plan to Introduce Fingerprint and Iris Transactions by December

Nairobi — President William Ruto has assured that Kenyans will be able to transact using fingerprints and iris by December when the Digital ID platform dubbed the Maisha Number becomes operational.

The President promised that the Digital ID will be in use come December with the testing program set to be concluded end of November to pave way for the seamless launch.

In September, the government postponed the planned launch due to unavoidable circumstances and promised to announce a new date.

“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 don’t have to carry any paper plastic or otherwise as an ID,” he said.

President Ruto stated that the planned roll out was on course saying the commencement of the use of the digitized model of national identification is progressive.

“Kenyans will be able to be identified digitally using their iris or fingerprints and we can transact without the necessity of people struggling to identify who they are,” the President noted.

Set to gradually replace the current national IDs, the digitized identification will virtually incorporate all personal detailed identifier data including Birth Certificate, death certificate, Maisha card as well as driver’s license among others.

Newborn children will be assigned a distinct number that will serve as their birth certificate number and later as an identification number for all government services, including, registration of death.

Maisha Number will feature a Machine-Readable Zone, conforming to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

This master database will manage data for all registered citizens, refugees, and foreigners using fingerprint biometric technology, enhancing data accuracy and reliability.

It will consolidate existing independent databases into a single integrated register, serving as the central reference for all data related to Kenyan citizens and foreign residents in the country.

On the other hand, the Digital ID will be a digital representation of an individual, organization, or device, typically encompassing personal attributes, credentials, and authentication.

This enhancement distinguishes the Maisha Card from its predecessor, the Huduma Card, which marked an attempt to digitize identity under former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime.

The comprehensive rollout of the project has been estimated to take a transition period of 2 to 3 years.

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