National Identification systems are worthless without civil registeration – Experts

Some of the experts during a breakout session
Some of the experts during a breakout session

Experts meeting at the ongoing 3rd Conference of African Ministers responsible for Civil Registeration say any national identification project without a good civil registeration system is worthless.

During various panel sessions to discuss, develop and set up progressive modalities for improving civil registeration systems in Africa, the experts from all over the continent and partner institutions like the World Health Organization, the World Bank, African Development Bank and several NGOs agreed that for countries on the continent to have functional and efficient national identification systems, they must first get their civil registeration database right.

“Without a good civil registeration system, you can’t have a national identification system”, said Dr. Samuel Mills of the World Bank during a presentation.

Other experts making presentations indicated that African countries should align their civil registeration and legal systems as these are important for economic planning and development.

Raj Mitra of the Economic Commission for Africa urged countries of the continent to bring their civil registeration systems in conformity with the Addis Agreement.

In August 2010, the First Ministerial meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia recognized the importance of civil registeration and vital statistics identifying it as one of the continent’s key development imperatives, a press statement on the conference says.

“Following the minister’s resolutions, African Heads of State and Government in their 2012 African Union Summit institutionalized the ministerial conference as a statutory body of the African Union Commission and directed the conference to report on progress and challenges to the summit every two years,” it adds.

The third conference in addition to taking stock of previous conferences on civil registeration and related matters will provide policy guidance to address the various challenges experienced in the course of implementation of the programme in the last four years.

The experts also noted the lack of political will in most African countries to implement reforms and outcomes of these conferences in improving civil registeration.

The conference in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast is under the theme; “Promoting the use of Civil Registeration and Vital Statistics in support of Good Governance in Africa,” and is being attended by 40 ministers.

By Emmanuel K Dogbevi, in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast

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