Biometrics to play pivotal role for ID in underdeveloped countries

San Antonio, Tx (USA)

By utilising biometrics, developing countries can effectively work with their citizens for wide-scale enrollment and expanded public service delivery.  The United Nations (UN) expressed its aim to “provide legal identity to all, including birth registration” by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key motivator for achieving this goal, according to research firm, Frost & Sullivan, is the reduction of mortality among children younger than 5 years old. Vaccine-preventable diseases and malnutrition are among the major dangers plaguing young children in underdeveloped countries, where newborns are vulnerable because they are at their most crucial developmental stage.

However, significant challenges hinder the effective and timely delivery of vaccines. The lack of reliable identity registration makes it exponentially harder to identify children who have not obtained their first vaccine dose or those that require essential follow-up vaccinations. Vaccine delivery to communities in need often does not occur because local health authorities cannot accurately track who already had the vaccine, when vaccination occurred, or what vaccines they need. Moreover, developing countries face many challenges (regulatory gaps, lack of funding and resources, and low accessibility and coverage) in effectively implementing robust ID framework systems to ensure accessible legal IDs for all.

“Developing countries require thoughtful planning and the right blend of technical, financial, and political resources to establish a successful digital identity system with immense social benefits. Biometrics can play a pivotal role in contributing to this effort,” noted Niihara Tetsuya, GC Director at Frost & Sullivan. “The use of multimodal biometrics is the ideal approach because it provides increased flexibility for enrollment and authentication and improved accuracy and efficiency for biometric de-duplication.”

According to Frost & Sullivan, NEC aims to expand the target coverage of biometric solutions to children, including newborns. NEC’s purpose, principles, and achievements create a foundation for a future-ready, security-first, and biometrics-powered digital society. Every individual will be able to rely on their unique, convenient, and accessible personal identity to access the essential public services they need to live a safe and healthy life. The core benefits of biometric identification technologies include:

  • Permanence, convenience, and increased geographic coverage.
  • Better and faster accessibility despite literacy and communication barriers.
  • Better security by reducing the possibility of losing documents.
  • Higher accuracy by minimizing human authentication errors.


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