NCRA engages Africell on collaboration in Digital Identity.

(Freetown, Friday 22 November 2019) – The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), has initiated engagement with Africell, one of Sierra Leone’s leading mobile operators.

 The purpose of the engagement is to decentralize Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in the country by utilizing existing digital identity platforms and advanced technology and systems in rural and urban communities

This timely collaboration came about as a result of the tireless efforts the Director-General of the NCRA has been making in ensuring that the services provided to the people of this country are in line with international best practice and H.E President Bio’s New Direction Agenda, in which human capital development is pivotal. The initiative of using technology supports and enhances human capital development through financial inclusion and services.

Chief Executive Officer of Africell, Mr. Shadi Al-Gerjawi

 The Chief Executive Officer of Africell, Shadi Al-Gerjawi intimated the NCRA Director-General that collaboration and partnership has always been one of the Company’s objectives especially with an institution like the NCRA that is dealing with population data. He added that as one of the leading mobile network operators in Sierra Leone with a history of embracing change and innovation, Africell will continue to honor its corporate social responsibilities by providing the best mobile services to the people of this country. “Providing quality products and services to the people of this country has always been the company’s topmost priority,” he said.

Both the DG and the CEO expressed similarly that a well-designed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with clear modus operandi defining scope, responsibilities, expectations etc. in the engagement would be helpful in moving the NCRA agenda forward beginning with the  following: external and internal communication via the provision of CUGs for staff to staff communication and Call-Center capable short-code, supporting mobile Sim Registration through digital identity, reliable internet connectivity at NCRA locations around the country, APN access with restrictions to accessible IPs, sensitization campaigns through its media, AYV, Air Radio and SMS Blasts and use of a small segment of its existing Agent Network to trail and study the potential application of different agency models to CRVS, use of technology to strengthen birth and death registration in communities with data transmitted on same in real-time,  support decentralized CRVS and trailing innovative technology and business models aimed at helping the NCRA to meet its mandate in a manner that emphasizes convenience to citizens and also Africell leveraging the NCRA National Digital Identity Platform for the purposes of eKYC as part of the SIM registration process among others.

The Director-General of the NCRA, Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi thanked the Africell Management for such a laudable partnership which he said will lend more credence and expedite the activities and operations of the Authority. He emphasized that technology and innovation are key to our Government’s New Direction Agenda noting the passion H.E President Bio demonstrates for technology and innovation that guarantees social and economic stability of our future generations hence the need to invest in them.

Mr. Massaquoi disclosed to the Africell Team that the NCR Act of 2016 mandates the NCRA to register and account for all civil registration-related vital events occurring in the country. “I want to bring to your attention that the NCR Act of 2016 provides the Authority the mandate to carry out citizens and non-citizen residents registration functions of the vital events that define their existence which includes births, deaths, adoptions, marriages, divorces, nullities etc. throughout Sierra Leone, “ Mr. Massaquoi informed the Africell team.

Mr. Massaquoi also stated that the use of mobile and innovative technology and agency models will enhance the Authority in achieving its mandate of registering every birth and death event across the country. He noted that the Authority is at an advanced stage of developing an application that can be used to record and manage CRVS, the establishment of geo-optimized printing facilities to analyze logistical models to support decentralized printing model that enables the NCRA to robustly manage aspects of its CRVS touch points

The Director-General concluded by stressing on the responsibility of NCRA to provide content-driven and privacy protection utility to citizens of this country. “ For the fact that your Company is exploring the use of the newly developed National Digital Identity Platform (NDIP) for the purposes of SIM registration, it is the responsibility of NCRA to always provide privacy-protection utility to citizens of Sierra Leone,” he said.

He added that the NCRA is willing to work with Africell to help integrate its SIM registration functions with the NDIP as well as supporting access to the electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) platform that will allow Africell, via a citizen consent-driven mechanism, to use the fingerprint and ID of its customers to retrieve the identity data of citizens with ease thus reducing identity fraud and abuse.

“Similar engagements will be initiated with other Telecoms and other financial institutions as well as MDAs in the country,” the DG said.

IEC Directorate, NCRA

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