Mastercard Community Pass Certified to Provide Digital IDs

And what is the current state of digital ID solutions in Kenya following the failure of Huduma Namba?


ID2020 announced that Mastercard Community Pass has received the ID2020 Certification, which recognizes its digital ID solutions.

As more aspects of daily life move online, many people – including 850 million globally and a quarter of children – lack official records or a way to prove their identity digitally.

This leaves them unable to access basic services, participate in the economy, or exercise their rights.

Mastercard Community Pass

Mastercard Community Pass is a digital platform that aims to provide a functional ID and digital wallet to individuals, allowing them to access critical services like healthcare, education, and financial services. It works offline, ensuring those in low- or no-connectivity environments can still access these services.

By reducing the cost of service delivery, the platform seeks to enhance access to critical services.

“We could not be more delighted to announce the certification of Mastercard’s Community Pass,” said ID2020 Executive Director, Clive Smith. “Mastercard has long been a leader in the movement toward more privacy-preserving approaches to digital ID. We are encouraged to see them extend their product offerings to serve those who live in rural environments and who often struggle to access even the most basic of services. We hope that other solution providers will follow their lead to ensure that the needs of society’s most vulnerable are met.”

Digital ID Solutions in Kenya

Locally, the government of Kenya has been attempting to launch digital ID solutions for citizens, first with the Huduma Namba project that was launched back in 2018. Currently, the project appears to have failed because the Ruto government has plans to replace it with another form of digital ID.

At the beginning of 2023, ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo hinted that the state might pursue a new digital identity for Kenyans to replace the now-failed Huduma Namba.

His address was focused on the government’s plans for digitization and service provision.

The CS had mentioned that they would not be relying on the government treasury for funding and that fees would be charged for services.

He also explained that some of the fees would be used to cover professional fees and strengthen infrastructure, while the rest would be utilized for additional services.

According to CS Owalo, the Huduma Namba project aimed to create a digital identity for virtual transactions, but it was not introduced or explained properly, leading to mistrust.

The CS emphasized the importance of digital identity and now plans to roll out a similar project, but with a different name.

The new system will not require a physical card and will facilitate virtual transactions between the government and the public.

Owalo believes that digital identity is crucial and has made it a priority in their plan.