UNDP Namibia: Pioneering Digital Legal Identity Governance for Inclusive Development

Yrika Maritz, Head of Experimentation

April 30, 2024

To address the challenges of digital legal identity, the United Nations has set ambitious targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 16, which aims to promote legal identity for all by 2030, and Goal 17, and emphasizes statistical capacity-building in developing countries.

In a landmark moment for global innovation, Namibia has emerged as a trailblazer in the realm of digital legal identity, setting a precedent for many countries on the continent. Building on the foundational work of the UNDP Namibia's Accelerator Lab and collaborative efforts with government stakeholders, Namibia will be the first African country, and indeed the world, to implement UNDP’s Model Governance Framework for Digital Legal Identity. UNDP Namibia, through the Accelerator Lab, in collaboration with Namibia's Chief Digital Office and Legal Identity Team, introduced the Model Governance Framework of Digital Legal ID Framework to government. 


This groundbreaking framework, introduced and launched in 2023, represents a paradigm shift in the way countries approach legal identity systems. It embodies Namibia's unwavering commitment to inclusivity, leaving no one behind in the digital age. The framework incorporates the necessary safeguards to manage responsibility, risk, and accountability to ensure that digitalization efforts align with the public good.

Picture from Groot-Aub at the legal identity event

Namibia's journey towards comprehensive legal identity systems has not been without its challenges. Like many countries worldwide, Namibia grapples with siloed service delivery and interoperability issues between disparate databases and systems. However, through concerted efforts and strategic partnerships, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration Safety and Security, with the Office of the Prime Minister’s ICT System Architect, has been working to overcome these obstacles, laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and efficient digital ecosystem.


The success of Namibia's digital legal identity initiative underscores the transformative potential of technology in advancing socio-economic development and promoting individual well-being. The Ministry’s move to strengthen its ICT systems and integrating digital initiatives has positioned Namibia to be at the forefront of global innovation, inspiring other countries to follow suit. 

Follow us in Part 3 of this blog where we explore the implementation process of Namibia's digital legal identity framework and reflect on the lessons learned for future endeavours.