A State that desires to deliver the benefits to society that all modern people have come to require of it*, will find things vastly simpler with an effective ID infrastructure. Biometrics are a cheap and effective way of building that infrastructure and are a true leap-frogging technology.
Here’s another indication that Nigeria is taking advantage of biometrics as to build a modern identity infrastructure. This article is about the banking and finance sector, an important piece of the development puzzle to be sure.
According to the CBN, the activities and processes of customers’ due diligence that financial institutions must perform to identify their customers, among others, remain key to the development of the financial system.
It also regretted that: “Verification of customers’ identity has been very difficult in Nigeria because the identity environment is fraught with adverse and disparate types of identity systems, all running in silos and having no link, integration or standardisation nor a centralised identity database for verifying the identity of bank customers.
“The absence of a central standardised identity database, and the relevant infrastructure to support access to this database, for the verification and authentication of identity, have had a constraining effect on the country’s growth and development, effective credit administration, effective administration of most government services and collation of accurate data and statistics that could be leveraged on to drive effective planning, both in the public and private sectors.”
The extremely frank and technical discussion at the end of the article — what it all means, why Nigeria is where it is, the costs of the status quo, and the opportunities do be derived from a more effective ID management environment — is really good stuff. You don’t see it laid out like that too often in the mainstream press.
*National defense, basic education, vaccination programs, enforceable private contracts, well regulated public utilities, etc. Basically, it’s just really hard for the government to do anything well if it doesn’t know who anybody (perhaps everybody?) is.