Seychelles developing Digital Identity platform, a key building block for the Digital Economy
One of the digital platform being used by Absa Bank Seychelles which allow users to check their account balances, make payments to existing beneficiaries and pay bills. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles is developing an innovative Digital Identity platform that is expected to be integrated with different national initiatives like eGovernment, eTourism and eHealth as the island nation further embraces a digital future.
The development of the platform will be through a pilot project ran over one year which follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last week between Seychelles’ Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT) and WISeKey International Holding, a leading cybersecurity company in Switzerland.
The principal secretary for DICT told SNA on Monday that the development of the platform is in preparation for the digital economy and the drive for the modernisation of payment systems.
“Normally a central piece in e-government or what is nowadays referred to as digital government and even in the digital economy is the reliable identification of a person through electronic means. As you know, in the digital environment, it is not like when someone is face to face, and as such, you must have the mechanisms to identify that person in a reliable way. In our case, we have an eID system presently but there are new demands especially with respect to the direction the modernization of payments is going. As a result, we also have to enhance our system in order to meet these demands,” explained Choppy.
The principal secretary added: "The government of Seychelles is driving key projects for e-government that will benefit both our citizens and the local business community. We have partnered with WISeKey, which is already providing us with our Public Key Infrastructure solution, in our pilot project on enhancing our eID ecosystem to what may be the next generation of Digital Identity in Seychelles."
Choppy said that the new platform will allow the seamless use of eID on smartphones and easier integration with mobile or other applications. The eID will become a virtual counterpart of any identification document example the ID card which can be on your smartphone. From this, the platform will allow for secure authentication with accessing government services and any other third-party systems such as financial institutions allowing for seamless, easy to use digital signing.
While delivering his budget speech last month the island nation’s Minister for Finance spoke about the need for Seychelles not to lag behind in a world of the digital age. “This revolution that the world has gone through, the development of technology, it could bring a number of benefits for our country. Therefore, we need to put in place the policies and structure that will enable us to develop the digital economy,” said Naadir Hassan.
Hassan added that in the coming months, the cabinet of ministers will consider different policies needed to put in place to develop that sector. The minister explained that this initiative will bring great benefits to the other sectors of the economy.
“An e-government will have the possibility to bring along a number of benefits to improve the way the government delivers its service. We need to stop manual procedures and introduce electronic processes. This will ensure that the government will be more efficient and effective. This will also ensure more transparency and reduce the possibility of corrupt practices,” added Hassan.
The Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) last year launched its National Payment System modernisation plan aimed at transforming the country’s payments landscape. According to a press communique from CBS, its overarching objective is to promote a national payment system that is convenient, affordable, reliable, efficient and safe, while also contributing towards a smooth transition from the traditional cash-intensive to a predominately mobile-based and digitalised financial system.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons as we have had to take measures and change behaviours to deal with the challenges. As online became the primary channel not only for banking. This trend has to be expanded further to ease customer access as well as to build the resilience of the banking sector and ultimately, the wider financial services sector,” said the governor of the bank Caroline Abel.
The press release added that the modernised and digital financial system will bring many benefits including advancing the financial inclusion agenda, promoting competition and innovation, minimising cost and fraud, increasing efficiency in tax collection as well as payment transparency.