Earlier this year, the ID4Africa Movement announced the appointment of Ambassadors from 43 African nations for its 2019 Ambassador Class. This impressive expansion in representation – up from 29 countries in 2018 – reflected a strong endorsement from the African Governments of the ID4Africa Ambassadors Program, and a clear recognition of the importance of the evolving role the Ambassadors were playing.
Of note is the degree of geographic inclusivity attained by the program in 2019, which now stretches beyond sub-Saharan Africa, to include Northern Africa, as well as the sovereign islands off the African coast.
Commenting on this achievement, Dr. Joseph J. Atick, Executive Chairman of ID4Africa, said: “I am excited to see the Program become the largest institutionalized body for south-south cooperation around identity matters in Africa. While the growth in the ranks of the Ambassadors is remarkable, what is even more significant is the way in which their role has evolved. While they continue to act as key liaisons between the ID4Africa Movement and their individual countries, we are empowering the group to become a collective thought leadership body, that can provide Pan-African guidance and promote the exchange of experiences and knowledge among the represented countries themselves.”
The ID4Africa Ambassadors are senior-level government officials (appointed one per country) that work for government identity stakeholders in their country. Selected based on merit, passion, and experience, the Ambassadors are key drivers within the Movement, who not only serve to establish and maintain active collaboration between the ID4Africa General Secretariat and the identity stakeholders, but also influence the agenda and direction of the Movement. They help keep the Movement informed on issues that are pertinent and ensure that their respective countries’ priorities in identity management are part of the Movement’s collective agenda.
Said Atick, “We want to retain these Ambassadors so they stay working with their institutions and the only way we can do that is by empowering them to make decisions by themselves. Otherwise the brain drain will continue to happen in Africa and talent will be attracted to go to the private sector. By creating powerful institutions and empowering these people to complement their national institutions I think we can help African governments retain talent and even re-enforce it, by building more talent to support the activities and plans for institutions like the ID4Africa Identity Council (IIC).”
They also ensure that their nations are well represented in their delegations to the Annual General Meetings (AGM). In their collective action and through the IIC, this role is expanding to include guidance and support of the decision-making process for the development of Pan-African identity ecosystems.
The Silicon Trust was honoured to be there and act as independent observers during the vote counting for the election of the IIC’s President and Vice-President, which saw the election of Mory Camara (Guinea) as President and Emmanuel K. Brown (Ghana) as Vice President.
“The IIC is basically the operational arm of the ID4Africa Movement. It represents all the shared experience of the countries in terms of the establishment of Digital Identity and we have those who are very advanced and others who have a long way to go,” said Mory Camara, President, ID4Africa Identity Council.
“The Goal is to share those experiences, advice, consult, assist wherever we can; we have a lot of expertise – technical, legal, procedural, financial, so it’s a chance for Africa to put into practice all the recommendations, the strategies and the lessons that we have learnt throughout the five years’ existence of the ID4Africa movement,” he added.
ID4Africa appoints one Ambassador per African country per year – subject to a term limit of 4 years. Considering the term expiration of certain ambassadors, as well as unrepresented countries, the Movement opens the Annual Call for Ambassadors during the 4th quarter of each year. In building the 2020 Class of Ambassadors, ID4Africa accepted applications from the following 14 countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Seychelles, Sudan & Zimbabwe.
To learn more about the ID4Africa Ambassadors Program, and to apply, please visit the Ambassadors website at http://www.id4africa- ambassadors.org.
The next ID4AFRICA Annual General Meeting will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, June 2-4, 2020