Don't Miss the Digital Identity for Emergency Response LiveCast!

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having efficient mechanisms for social assistance delivery to vulnerable groups in the aftermath of emergencies or economic shocks. While the world has in the past repeatedly experienced major crisis that require humanitarian interventions, nowhere in our recent memory has there been an event with as broad and as deep of an impact as COVID-19. The pandemic has exposed inadequacies in governments’ ability to respond to the urgent needs—financial, public health, etc—of their populations and have uncovered a digital divide between those who have and those who do not have access to the digital world.


Identity systems in the pandemic


In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, countries that had functioning identity systems (especially social registries) with high coverage of the population—such as India, Chile, Thailand, and South Africa fared better than those that had no infrastructure. Those registries were used as the bases for affecting cash transfers within the context of social programs (identity that empowers).

Robust digital identity registries can be used not only for efficiency (lower cost of service) but also to ensure fairness of the distribution and that no one, who is genuinely in need, is left behind. Knowing the population (KYP: Know-Your-Population) is the first step in assessing and delivering needed aid to it.


For countries that do not have adequate identity infrastructure today, the objective should be to develop functional or foundational identity systems as quickly as possible, and to link assistance and service delivery programs to such registries. This could mean the development of temporary identity programs or fast population enrollment campaigns that allow the onboarding of large segments of the population, without having to go through the traditional and lengthy pathways for enrolling people into national identity programs.


The Digital Identity for Emergency Response LiveCast


ID4Africa is organizing this LiveCast episode to examine the role digital identity plays in emergency response. Discussions will examine the experiences of countries that have managed to quickly develop such systems or those that have linked their emergency response programs to already existing digital identity schemes. The discussion will be focused within the context of social safety nets, labor programs, public health and health services, refugees, pandemic responses, and natural disasters. The objective is to derive lessons learned that could be helpful to countries seeking to quickly launch social programs linked to digital identity.

The Moderator

Joseph Atick

Executive Chairman 

Dr. Joseph Atick is a recognized world renowned advocate and expert on identity matters. Having been one of the founders of the identity industry nearly 30 years ago, he led several companies in that domain and developed some of the foundational algorithms underlying secure digital identity today, including the first commercially viable face recognition algorithm. 

Dr. Atick retired from the industry in 2010 to focus on promoting identity for social and economic development around the world. In that mission he partnered with the World Bank and other UN agencies, and was heavily involved in the development and field testing of the methodology and analytic tools that would guide the subsequent activities in that space, and would lead to the launch of the ID4D initiative at the World Bank. 


In 2014, he co-founded ID4Africa as a pan-African Movement to promote responsible digital transformations through digital identity in Africa. He is a staunch defender of privacy, data protection and human rights and continues to provide counsel to governments and international organization on the use of identity for public good. Dr. Atick holds a Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics from Stanford University.

Keynote Speaker

Robert Palacios

Global Lead, Social Protection
The World Bank

Robert Palacios oversees Pensions and Social Insurance in the Social Protection and Labor Practice of the World Bank. Previously he served as a member of the research department team that produced the World Bank’s influential volume on international pension systems. 


His current areas of special interest include integration of policies across social sectors and use of technology to deliver and track social programs. 


Robert represents the SPL Global Practice on the ID4D Working Group.

The Panelists

Nahla Zeitoun

Senior Social Protection Specialist
The World Bank, Egypt

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Eva Mowbray

Marketing Director

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Khawla Abu Sarara

Director of Studies
National Aid Fund, Jordan

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Robert Karanja

Director, Responsible Technology, Omidyar Network

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Mouhamed SY

Director, Information Systems
Agency for Universal Health Coverage, Senegal

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Andrew Hopkins

Chief, Identity Management and Registration Section


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Morlé Koudeka

Chief Technology Officer
Ministry of Posts, Digital Economy and Technological Innovation, Togo

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Date & Time: October 14th, 14:30-16:30 CET (Paris Time)

[Language: English-French]

(Space is Limited)

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(c) ID4Africa 2020