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A critical assessment of the options for local governments trying to verify citizen ID for digital services.


  • Digital services demand identity: Some services are too sensitive to go digital without it.
  • National uncertainty makes local decisions hard: Do not try to replicate what national government is doing in your country – but be prepared to compromise if it is not doing enough.
  • Do not let the best be the enemy of the good: Systems to provide higher levels of assurance (LoAs) is a long-way off in some countries, but interim measures can support a wider range of digital services right now.

Features and Benefits

  • Understand the factors influencing the options for ID management in your country.
  • Learn how local government can respond to rapid developments in national government identity programs.

Key questions answered

  • What can local government do about identity assurance?
  • How can local government act now on identity, without having to wait for national systems to take off?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages
  • Recommendations for local government

Identity is key to local digital services

  • Local authorities do not know whether to build or to wait
  • Attribute exchange will simplify bureaucracy and protect privacy

National uncertainty makes local decisions hard

  • Opportunity costs need to be estimated carefully
  • Most Anglophone states have their work cut out
  • Local governments will struggle to establish trust

Do not let the best be the enemy of the good

  • Do not try to build what is already being built for you
  • Local government should prepare to comply with ID standards
  • Data verification systems have shortcomings, but they are a start
  • Social media can support low-sensitivity transactions
  • Identity is only one piece of the “digital by default” puzzle


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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