Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Biometric ID That Doubles As Cash Card


Abuja, Nigeria 28 August - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan today received his National eID card, heralding the official launch of the eID pilot program. In the pilot phase, the Nigerian Identity Management Commission(NIMC) will issue MasterCard-branded identity cards with electronic payments functionality to 13 million Nigerians. This initiative is the largest rollout of a biometric-based verification card with an electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion program in Africa.


Sigh… this could very well have been a headline about India's Aadhaar Card, if only people were sensible about it. It was proposed a number of times that the Aadhar Card be used similarly (perhaps not as seamlessly). Here are a few links:

Problems were… the people trying to get this accomplished in India simply didn't have the ability to convince. The program wasn't publicised enough. General lack of interest. Red-tape. Most of the important information/benefits that should have been highlighted and yelled out constantly on every possible podium were just given a passing mention in some obscure government websites or in some boring lengthy article. The problem was primarily PR and campaigning. THAT and of course 0 support from the opposition (To be expected. It's called the opposition for a reason).

Interestingly enough, the Modi government is just building up on the same thing, on the same mechanism and seems to have the right approach as far as marketing / PR etc. is concerned (I always said, the marketing/PR team for Modi is brilliant). That and a horribly weak opposition should ensure that there will be at least some work on the program. Albeit 2 years late.

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