Kenya begins rollout of digital IDs for citizens


NAIROBI, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Kenya has begun rolling out national digital IDs in a pilot scheme that will introduce digital registration of people in the country, a government official has said.

Julius Bitok, the principal secretary of the State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services, said all citizens who turn 18 years old and apply for national IDs will be issued the digital ID dubbed "Maisha Card."

"Also set to receive the new card with enhanced security are applicants seeking replacements for defaced or lost cards as the government tests the country's preparedness for a full rollout of digital IDs," Bitok said in a statement released in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Wednesday evening.

He said the digital ID, which contains an electronic microprocessor chip with encrypted data, will replace the current second-generation national IDs, and the digital ID will also have features to support the creation of a virtual ID for those with smartphones.

Bitok revealed that the National Registration Bureau receives about 10,000 applicants for first-time IDs across the country every day. "The digital ID will have a new unique personal identification number that will be the primary and lifelong registration and identification reference for its holder."

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