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Connections is a weekly series of knowledge notes from the World Bank Group’s Transport & Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Global Practice. It covers projects, experiences, and front-line developments.

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  • Publication
    Digital IDs for Development: Access to Identity and Services for All
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-04) Dahan, Mariana; Sudan, Randeep
    Lack of personal official identification (ID) prevents people from fully exercising their rights and isolates them socially and economically - voting, legal action, receipt of government benefits, banking, and borrowing are all virtually closed off. The widespread lack of ID in developing countries is a critical stumbling block to national growth. Digital ID, combined with the already extensive use of mobile devices in the developing world, offers a transformative solution to the problem - a simple means for capturing personal ID that can reach far more people; and new, more efficient ways for government and business to reach and serve the population. Robust digital ID systems can produce huge savings for citizens, government, and business, increase transparency and accountability, and drive innovation. Harnessing their power will require strong political will and leadership, foreign assistance matched with local incentives, and a supportive institutional environment. Trust in data security will be critical to achieving tangible results.