Somali Cabinet okays CRVS bill, seeks digital ID collaboration with Ethiopia

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Somalia’s Cabinet Ministers have approved a draft civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) legislation, a major step forward in the country’s quest to modernize its citizen identification system after many years of political turmoil.

The document, submitted by the Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation, was adopted during a meeting on November 19, according to a ministry tweet.

During the meeting, Interior Minister Ahmed Fiqi explained the importance of the bill, saying it would empower local governments around the country to provide essential public services to citizens in a coordinated, seamless and secure manner.

The approval of the CRVS bills by the Somali Cabinet happened just days after a delegation from the country made the trip to neighbouring Ethiopia to tap into its digital ID experience.

In a message posted to its Telegram channel, the National ID Program of Ethiopia (NIDP) said it had a “knowledge-sharing” discussion last week with some officials of Somalia’s National Identification and Registration Authority.

NIDP said it is ready to provide “technical, programmatic, and governance insights to support their National ID implementation,” and that it was looking forward to “continued engagement and collaboration.”

Somalia launched its new biometric ID card in September thanks also to technical and financial support from Pakistan’s National Registration and Database Authority (NADRA).

Earlier in May, a study had proposed strategies through which the Somali government could implement an effective digital ID ecosystem given the country’s precarious socio-political environment.