Digital identities have become an integral part of modern life, But things like e-passports, digital health records, or apple pay really only provide faster, easier, or sometimes smarter way of accessing services that are already
This makes the technology highly attractive for solving a range of problems. The challenge is that in poor countries, an increasing number of people live under the radar, invisible to the often archaic, paper-based methods used to certify births, deaths, and marriages.
In light of this, it is difficult to see how we will meet the SDG16 deadline without a radical solution. What we need are new and affordable digital ID technologies capable of working in poorly resourced settings—for example, where there is no reliable electricity—and yet able to leapfrog current approaches to reach everyone, whether they’re living in remote villages or urban slums.
These systems were designed to help the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and my organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, close the gap on the one in seven infants still missing out. But they can also be used to help us achieve SDG16.
Other digital identification solutions in development include ones that use biometric-based iris recognition. While such high-tech solutions may at first seem over the top, it’s worth remembering that this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen technology leapfrog its way into developing countries. The lack of existing infrastructure in some poor countries can, in many ways, make them ideal for entirely new technology