Israeli Firm Lands Kenyan ID Project, Aimed at Stemming Terror

Unnamed company to lead public-private consortium to gather biometric data, issue e-cards in endeavor to increase security in East African nation.

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Mourners remembering their loved ones killed in the Westgate terror attack at the Amani Garden memorial site in the Karura Forest in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 21, 2014.
Mourners remembering their loved ones killed in the Westgate terror attack at the Amani Garden memorial site in the Karura Forest in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 21, 2014.Credit: AP

An unnamed Israeli firm has signed a deal to help Kenya develop a biodata system for issuing ID cards to all its citizens, which the government hopes will aid it in the fight against terror, The East African reported Saturday.

The information is also meant to help the rein in tax evasion, loan defaults and corruption, according to the news site.

“The Israeli company was chosen because of the track record Israel has on security services," said Mwende Gatabaki, director-general of the Kenya Citizens and Foreign National Management Service, on Wednesday." The reason for the National Digital Registry Service is the increase in insecurity, especially after the Westgate attack.” The Israeli company will be the primary partner in the joint public-private venture.

Kenyan officials declined to name the Israeli company, according to The East African, which reported the registry will cost $145 million to set up. All data on individuals and their assets are to be stored on one data bank by February, and the government twill issue electronic national ID cards to all Kenyan nationals, including minors by October 2015, according to the report.

The consortium headed by the Israeli firm will run and supervise the registry for six years and then hand over complete control to the government. The e-card that nationals receive will contain biodata such as the individual's kin, assets, bank accounts, driver's license, passport number and personal identification number.

“All citizens of all ages will be required to undergo a national digital registration at the designated centers to be announced so as to capture correct and complete biometric data using their unique digital identifiers referenced from birth to death,” said Ms. Gatabaki.

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