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While most East African countries are embracing the adoption of digital IDs, Tanzania seems to be dragging its feet.

Some countries express mixed reactions to the readiness of these documents, while others have not yet initiated discussions on biometric identification.

Know Your Customer (KYC) processes play a vital role in combating fraud, money laundering, and ensuring compliance with local and international regulations. 

However, the implementation and requirements of KYC vary across African nations due to distinct regulatory frameworks and technological infrastructures. 

Africa’s digital economy is experiencing rapid growth, boasting a population of 1.4 billion. However, as of 2020, approximately 500 million Africans still lack proper identification documents, underscoring the significance of identity verification solutions in bridging the identity gap and bolstering the continent’s digital economy.

Tanzania remains reluctant to fully embrace digital IDs, in contrast to its East African counterparts. Nonetheless, the country’s ICT regulator has taken steps to enhance security in the telecommunications sector. The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) mandated that SIM card registration includes biometric identification, requiring citizens to register their SIM cards with their national identification documents. Biometric verification, such as fingerprints and other data, is employed to authenticate mobile phone users, reducing the risk of fraudulent activities.

In a notable move, the Tanzanian government deactivated 970,000 irregularly registered SIM cards in February 2023, responding to the TCRA’s directive for biometric registration. The campaign proved successful, with Smile Identity’s report indicating that 60.47 million out of 62 million mobile users registered before the deadline, leading to a significant decrease in SIM card fraud cases. This action mirrors a similar campaign carried out by Kenya during a considerable portion of 2022.

Tanzania seems to prefer the traditional means of identification compared to the widely accepted digital means of identification in East Africa.

By Elijah Christopher 



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