African biometrics program gains ground

NEXT Biometrics

Breaking news on biometrics programs in Africa shows the potential for continental governments to adopt new technologies to combat fraud encryption and promote modern transparency.


In a press release today, NEXT Biometrics, a leader in identification technologies, reported the phasing in of biometric smart cards as part of an African e-government project that will use two-factor authentication to enhance user verification for government technologies.


Reports from earlier this month show how African governments are using biometrics to identify HIV patients in areas where the virus is rampant.


A story at cites a “growing demand for biometric security” and talks about pending adoption, revealing some of the activities that a company called BIOKey is using to boost potential in this sector.


“Our main goal is to provide new innovative solutions and the latest biometric technology to meet the standards required by government and private corporations alike,” said managing director Dr. Maduawuchi “Steve” Uwazie in a press statement. “BIO-key Africa will offer best-in-class after-sales support, as well as application and data management support for customers. With planned investment in a local sales and service organization, as well as our drive to advance biometric solutions, we aspire to be a contributing force to streamlined, efficient and effective public strategies and top-grade corporate security solutions.”


In the same piece, writer Chris Burt notes that the World Bank has approved $433 million in funding for a Nigerian biometric program, and that agreements like the African Continental Free Trade Area program promote economic development.


Stateside biometrics is being used in various key ways as well. Unfortunately for privacy and human rights advocates, much of the implementation receiving the most coverage is undertaken by agencies like DHS in the service of surveillance.


Still, biometrics is a promising field, adding a lot to cybersecurity and other important markets – for example, in law enforcement, air travel, and banking. Keep an eye out for greater indicators of global innovation in this area.