Why having an ID matters

Written By John Fieldsend
Magicard Article

Approximately one billion people around the world are currently living without any form of official ID. Research by ID4D and World Bank found that almost half of these people are based in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In fact, one in two people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack identification.

The same research also reported that more than 300 million people in South Asia live without an official ID. In many countries, living without ID means limited or no access to healthcare, voting rights, bank accounts, jobs or any other benefits. There are people around the world who officially at least, do not exist.

The reason for lacking ID also varies. For some, it’s the sheer distance between the place of birth and the nearest government building to register a child. Sparse populations are common in countries across Africa, Asia and parts of Latin America and new parents often simply don’t have the option to provide children with an identity beyond their name. In Latin America, for example, the lack of ID is often closely related to poverty and problems associated with social exclusion.

In 2018, at the ID4Africa conference held in Abuja, Nigeria; a campaign was initiated to recognise 16th September as International Identity Day globally. ID4Africa, supported by Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), announced a petition which had had a strong response at the conference would be presented to the United Nations but that it would take several years to accomplish its goal of ID for all.

Magicard strongly supports giving individuals control over their personal identity through the issuance of official documents including ID cards. We recognise that international days of observance are one of the most effective ways to raise awareness and drive momentum around an issue. As a commercial organisation Magicard cannot actively participate as a sponsor of the International Identity Day. However, the movement’s website is actively seeking support from non-profit organisations around the World to sign up and become part of the campaign. We want to encourage all parties to ‘join the coalition’ and help build the movement to deliver the first international observance day for identity.

For further reading, take a look at our Whitepaper: Identity in times of need