Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Pension Team Leader, Social Protection Unit, World Bank
Founder and CEO, Delta ID Incorporated
Founder and CTO, BiON Corporation
Principal, Marketing Strategies at Work
The use of biometric identification technology is growing rapidly in the developing world. It offers the prospect of eliminating the "identity gap" between rich and poor countries, where birth registration lags and many citizens have no official identity. Biometrics now underpins a wide range of developmental applications, including salary payments, social transfers, health insurance, financial access and elections.
A recent CGD working paper, “Identification and Development: The Biometrics Revolution” by Alan Gelb and Julia Clark, analyzes 160 such programs across 72 countries, half of which have been supported by donors. Together these initiatives affect at least 1 billion people. Some have led to innovations in service delivery and greater inclusion. But there are also risks of exclusion, privacy concerns, and problems with effective implementation.
This event will bring together technical and development experts at the forefront of this new technology to discuss the role of identification in development, how biometrics are used in the field, what advances are likely in the future and how they might best be supported by donors, and what changes are needed to make the most of the biometrics revolution.