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Why We Invested: UN Economic Commission for Africa

– Omidyar Network

Magdi Amin of Omidyar Network emphasizes how the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) - which plans to connect its continent through trade and technology - can only proceed if Good ID systems are in place

The signing of the AfCFTA agreement to create an African Common Digital Market in 2018  marked a historic first step towards a united and integrated Africa. 

But if the continent’s digital economy is to accelerate, Africans will need to have the ability to prove who they are and make payments online - which currently more than 500 million of the population are unable to do.

This is why Omidyar Network is supporting the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to co-develop a framework for Good ID across the continent. As Magdi Amin, Investment Partner at Omidyar Network, explains:

Africa cannot realize her development vision as an information society unless this gap is closed… Good ID can lead to an increase in gross domestic product, fuel technological innovation, save money, lower institutional risks, improve trust and acceptance, increase efficiency, and contribute to financial sustainability

By working with African policymakers, businesses, academics and civil society, UNECA along with Omidyar Network will call for the establishment of an African Center of Excellence on Digital Identity and Data Protection.

As well as building a set of guidelines for countries to follow, this will help ensure that digital identity is people-centered, secure, integrated, inclusive and useful, as well as tackle the challenges of safeguarding masses of data and dealing with a wide range of ID systems across different countries and governments.

At Omidyar Network, we believe the significant economic value of identity systems can only be realized in a sustainable way if it is Good ID, inspires trust (through privacy and security), and therefore increases engagement

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