Large governmental projects in the Middle East and Africa have always been seen as risky endeavours that are prone to delays and cancellations as funding issues and legal complications arise. In 2014 there have been some successes in Nigeria and South Africa regarding the development of electronic ID cards. Looking forward to 2015, Egypt looks likely to rollout a new ID card with help from Morpho.
The development of eGovernment projects in the Middle East and Africa have had a few false dawns with big projects in South Africa, Kenya, Iran and Nigeria all being delayed or cancelled. Now in 2015 there seems to be a genuine chance that there will be a significant shift in the prospects of some of the biggest projects in the region.
eGovernment in the Middle East and Africa had long been driven by Morocco, who had issued ePassports, eID and eDriving Licences, and more recently the rollout of eGovernment programmes in the Gulf States. There had been little activity in sub-Saharan Africa; Ghana has had the most success with the issuance of a biometric identity card, a region that could gain the most from the improved governance that these systems can bring.
Now the issuance of eID in Nigeria and the bank led eID issuance pilots going ahead in South Africa finally bring some tangible results in some of the biggest countries in the region. Nigeria especially has managed to keep the programme rolling forward through an exceptionally violent Islamic insurgency that then set the backdrop for the presidential election. The incoming president Muhammadu Buhari is renowned for his stance against corruption meaning that as long as the project clears any checks on historical deals it should have four years of governmental support.
South Africa has also made some progress with its eID card. The issuance process for the new eID cards should be speeded up by involving two large banks...