The government is set to spend Ksh. 1 billion to roll out digital IDs to Kenyans. The Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) dubbed Maisha Number will be assigned to individuals as a lifelong unique identification number starting from birth and eventually serve as an ID number.
Immigration Permanent Secretary Julius Bitok said the government will put a timeline to allow Kenyans to transit into the new digital IDs.
“We are going to put a timeline so that we give Kenyans time but for the time being we will have a transition period which will be two to three years to be able to transit into the new number,” he stated. The Immigration PS observed that Kenyans applying for IDs after attaining the mandatory age of eighteen years and those applying for replacements will be issued with the Maisha Card from the end of the month.”: stated Mr. Bitok.
Registration for Unique Personal Identifier is to commence on September 29, 2023. The government will slowly phase out the second-generation ID cards.
“For those applying for replacements, we have about 1.5 million replacement cards every year. Those new replacements will now be in the form of the Maisha Card. And for the new registrations, we have about 1.5 million again… for anyone turning eighteen from the end of this month they will be issued with a Maisha Card,” Bitok added.
Europe Urged to Implement Digital IDS
Digital IDs are used in other parts of the globe but are uncommon. However, Estonia has successfully been using the IDs and has 98% of its population on the system. In the recent G20 meet, Europe appears to be warming up to the ID system. The head of the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen, called for world leaders to roll out digital ID, globally by 2030.