Africa alone houses more than 16% of the entire world’s population yet a large number of inhabitants are still unable to or face difficulties in obtaining their identification documents. According to a recent study, there are more than 600 Africans for the time being in the content which lacks identification documents.
As a result, a large population of Africans is unable to utilize facilities that are available to those with identities. For instance, they cannot open bank accounts because the bank requires them to submit their identity documents. Similarly, they face difficulties while traveling across the border because they cannot arrange for visas in the absence of basic required documents. In addition, they are unable to access facilities through which others are deriving benefits. The issue is one of the major ones and has been ignored for so many years.
However, an African fintech company called Flexintx has taken the task to address the problem and provide a solution. The company has presented a proposal through which it has suggested that it has a way forward. The company has proposed that the issue can be resolved if these identity-less Africans are facilitated by providing them digital IDs.
In order to obtain firsthand information regarding the proposal, Flexintex’s founder and CEO, Victor Mapunga, was interviewed by Bitcoin.com News. The news agency had sent an email containing the questionnaire regarding the company’s proposal. In his response, Mapunga responded back through an email and apprised the news agency about his own story.
Mapunga told the news agency that after completing his studies, he went back to Zimbabwe. When he returned he tried to open a bank account but the bank refused because he did not have proof of address. He tried to convince the bank’s representative that there are millions of people in Zimbabwe who do not have address proof. However, the representative apologized and told him that he could not facilitate him in the absence of proof of address.
At that moment he said to himself that he would need to do something about it. When he started his work, he found out that there were more than 400 million people in the African region alone who were identity-less. Thereafter, he decided to take up the matter in his own hands and formed his own company, Flexintex.
Mapunga claims that the usual process of identification is way too expensive and burdensome in the African region. This is one of the biggest problems that people do not come forward and try to obtain these documents. But with the help of digital IDs, people would be able to get the documents without even paying too much. The cost of acquiring an ID through a digital id setup is almost to none.
As regards the question, how Mapunga would want to ensure digital ID set up, he said that he will utilize Blockchain technology. He told that digital ID holders will be provided with blockchain-based identity wallets which will be in the form of “Flex IDs”. These Flex IDs are capable of storing data digitally including medical records and prescriptions, academics as well as the data pertaining to e-KYC. Every individual holding the digital IDs will be allotted a national identity number as well, said Mapunga.
In the end, Mapunga said that he is hopeful if the proposal is implemented as proposed, the problem will be resolved efficiently.