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A publication by Research ICT Africa (RIA) within the framework of its BIO-ID project, which monitors the digital ID systems in 10 African countries, has examined the shortcomings of the Huduma Namba system in Kenya and suggested ways in which it can be improved.

According to the RIA’s findings, there is the need for Kenya to focus registration for the digital identity among poor and marginalized people who are said to constitute the largest percentage of those who lack legal identification documents.

Kenya, the report adds, must not focus only on numbers but adopt a more holistic and inclusive approach which also factors in issues around human rights such as being able to protect people from the dangers that may arise from the use of their identity data.

In an interview that is part of a series of the RIA project, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and research fellow with the Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) at Strathmore University, Grace Mutungu’u, states that too much of the politics surrounding ID spells danger for vulnerable and marginalized groups.

“Any new identity system should first resolve longstanding problems for those who have difficulties accessing the document and prioritize those without any identification…Since we have experience with security agencies using national ID to deny people freedom of movement, arrest them and threaten them, the new ID system ought to be conceptualized from a different paradigm,” said Mutungu’u in the interview.

Kenya’s Huduma Namba project has been rocked by controversy since its launch. In the past, groups, such as the Nubian Rights Forum, have called for certain reforms in order that millions of citizens are not marginalized by or excluded from the system. - Ayang Macdonald, BiometricUpdate.com

 

In a follow-up to Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s call for cryptocurrency action, a government minister has now announced plans to set up a crypto advisory team. This team, according to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) minister Faustine Ndugulile, will consist of not more than 10 experts.

Advisory Team to Be Set Up in 14 Days

In addition, as one media outlet reported on July 9, the Tanzanian ICT Commission has been given 14 days to set up this team. This team is expected to “advise the government on policy, legislation and guidelines to enable the technology to be used effectively.” This announcement by the minister is the latest response by Tanzanian authorities to President Hassan’s call for forward-thinking steps regarding crypto.

As previously reported by Bitcoin.com News, Hassan asked the country’s central banks to prepare for cryptocurrencies. Already, the country’s central bank has confirmed it is “working on the directive given.”

However, Ndugulile, who says he is cognizant of the technology’s benefits, argues that this needs to be well understood before its adoption. Therefore, on top of its advisory role, the task force will be responsible for “providing awareness to government institutions that will be involved in the system, ministers and permanent secretaries.” Ndugulile added that while he agrees with the idea of “making Kigamboni a smart city for testing the use of the technology,” he still favors prioritizing public awareness.

Support for Tanzania’s Pivot to Blockchain and Crypto

Meanwhile, the same media report also quotes Sandra Chogo, an expert in trade and blockchain, explaining the importance of raising awareness about this technology among young people in college. She said, "The fourth industrial revolution is gaining momentum and every day, new technologies are emerging".

Another expert, Joseph Matiko, suggested that “it was good for the government to allocate funds for model projects.” Matiko also makes reference to another important use case of blockchain technology, the storage of documents. He noted:

“The blockchain can be a great tool for storing government information and even the preparation of important documents such as citizenship IDs, birth certificates, passports and even Taxpayers’ Identification Numbers.” - Terence Zimwara, Bitcoin.com

Virgin Galactic will launch its first fully manned flight on 11 July including founder Richard Branson, who will enter space just over a week before fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos. 

The next test flight of the firm’s SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity will see Branson trying out the private astronaut experience that Virgin Galactic eventually plans to sell to rich space tourists at a price of around £175,000 per ticket.

It will be the twenty-second flight test for the ship and its fourth crewed spaceflight, although the first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin.

The flight is designed specifically for Branson and his crew to evaluate the commercial experience, including the cabin environment, seat comfort, the weightlessness, as well as the views of Earth that the spaceship delivers.

Following this flight the team plans to complete inspections of the vehicles and an extensive data review, which will inform the next steps in the test flight programme. Two additional test flights are planned before Galactic’s expected commencement of a commercial service in 2022. 

Sir Richard Branson said: “I truly believe that space belongs to all of us. After more than 16 years of research, engineering, and testing, Virgin Galactic stands at the vanguard of a new commercial space industry, which is set to open space to humankind and change the world for good.

“It’s one thing to have a dream of making space more accessible to all; it’s another for an incredible team to collectively turn that dream into reality.

“As part of a remarkable crew of mission specialists, I’m honoured to help validate the journey our future astronauts will undertake and ensure we deliver the unique customer experience people expect from Virgin.”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is also planning a trip to space on 20 July with his brother Mark as a passenger on the first crewed flight of New Shepard. Like Virgin Galactic, his space firm Blue Origin ultimately plans to have a space tourist option, with tickets costing around $200,000 to $300,000.

Virgin Galactic only received approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration last week following a successful test flight in May. There has been caution around the firm’s safety procedures following a test flight crash in 2014 that killed one of the pilots. IET Sites

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