Africa: Digital Identity & Authentication on Mobile
Digital Identity & Authentication for Africa - Africa's biggest opportunity and how mobile can unlock it
Africa is on the verge of a huge opportunity. This continent of 1.2 billion people is hungry for services such as banking, insurance, health and e-commerce – many of which would have been previously inaccessible to large portions of the population before the advent of the mobile phone. The introduction of ubiquitous mobile technology has led a transformation of economies across the continent and the potential for mobile is set to be even more disruptive as technologies and use cases advance.
With Africa’s mostly mobile-first market, the potential to build these services without the baggage of ‘analogue’ legacy systems is immeasurable. However, all of these verticals require reliable ID and secure authentication if they are to support lasting digital services. There is no value in building innovative new insurance products, for example, if people have to queue up and show a passport to access them. A paper passport is not fit for purpose in the context of a digital economy. And, besides, many individuals do not have one.
In addition, in Africa, where economies are heavily reliant on agent networks, there is an inherent risk for brands and organisations who depend on these unregulated agents to represent them in the field. Authentication technology could therefore present the opportunity to authenticate not only end users of a service, but also the agents who take the service to market.
As the rate of mobile connectivity continues to grow, along with African consumers accessing digital services, an explosion in the number of digital identities will follow. With this growth comes an increase in the risk for identity theft and associated fraud. It is therefore an imperative that digital service providers supply robust authentication technology for the digital economy.
Mobile, with its ubiquitous reach and support of higher factor authentication, is by far the most suitable channel to meet these demands. The phone can combine something you have (the handset) with something you know (a passcode or one-time password). When it comes to authentication, this combination is the most secure.
Increasingly Africa’s emerging digital service providers, retailers, banks and government are choosing mobile as the best channel for:
In this paper, we will look more closely at the African digital ecosystem, and explore how mobile can help government and enterprise, while opening up a commercial opportunity for IT providers and mobile operators.