The ID4Africa Advisory Board

The Board consists of a group of distinguished individuals representing some of the world’s leading development agencies. These are organizations that are committed to supporting Africa’s socio-economic development through the promotion of responsible change drivers, such as legal and digital identity.

Robert Palacios

Robert Palacios

Global Thematic Group Leader
The World Bank

[expand title=”Read Bio”] Robert Palacios is Global Thematic Group Leader for Pensions and Social Insurance in the Social Protection and Labor Practice of the World Bank. Between 1992-1994, he was a member of the research department team that produced the World Bank‘s influential volume on international pension systems, “Averting the Old Age Crisis: Policies to Protect the Old and Promote Growth”. Since 1995, he has divided his time between operational work and research with work in more than two dozen countries, most recently focusing on South Asia. His publications include articles and books on old age poverty, health insurance and a wide range of pension policy issues. His current areas of special interest include integration of policies across social sectors and use of technology to deliver and track social programs. He represents the SPL Global Practice on the recently constituted ID4D Working Group, a high level initiative aimed at developing the World Bank’s approach to identification and civil registration. [/expand]
Niall McCANN

Niall McCANN

Policy Advisor and Project Manager, Legal Identity,
UNDP

[expand title=”Read Bio”] Niall McCann is Policy Advisor and Project Manager for Legal Identity at the UNDP. He previously served as Lead Electoral Advisor at the UNDP for 6 years where he provided programming and advisory support to UNDP Country Offices engaged in providing electoral assistance (approximately 60 per year), and contributing to the development of the UN’s electoral assistance policy, as issued by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Since 2005, he has worked for a number of both UN and EU field missions, providing frontline electoral assistance to the national electoral authorities in Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Liberia, Zambia, Yemen and Afghanistan. In election observation, he observed at Deputy Chief Observer/Deputy Head of Mission level for the European Union and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Sudan and Croatia, and he also served in numerous other Core Teams for OSCE/ODIHR in Romania, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. From 1996-1999, he was Elections Officer/Senior Elections Officer with the OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. [/expand]
Cornelius Williams

Cornelius Williams

Associate Director and Global Chief of Child Protection
UNICEF

[expand title=”Read Bio”] Cornelius Williams is Associate Director and global Chief of Child Protection for UNICEF’s Programme Division. He has over 25 years of experience in managing child protection programmes in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa with UNICEF and Save the Children. As a child rights advocate he has been involved in advocacy that led to improved protection of children from sexual exploitation and abuse in humanitarian settings, reduced recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups and increased access of children to identity documents/ birth certificate and social assistance and other services. Mr. Williams has played a leading role in coordinating UNICEF’s engagement with governments and other partners in the development of programmes for the prevention and response to violence against children in countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. He is a national of Sierra Leone and holds a Masters Degree in International Child Welfare from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. [/expand]
Alan Gelb

Alan Gelb

Senior Fellow
Center for Global Development

[expand title=”Read Bio”] Alan Gelb is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. His recent research includes the applications of biometric ID technology for development purposes particularly in low and middle-income countries, the special challenges of resource-rich countries, and instruments to link aid flows to results. He also works on competitiveness and industrial development, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. He was previously director of development policy at the World Bank, and before that chief economist for the Bank’s Africa region and staff director for the 1996 World Development Report “From Plan to Market.”. He has published widely in these areas, including in refereed journals. [/expand]
Dr. Vera Songwe

Dr. Vera Songwe

UN UNder-secretary-general and Executive Secretary, UNECA

[expand title=”Read Bio”] Vera Songwe is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Prior to joining UNECA, she has worked with the International Finance Corporation as Regional Director covering West and Central Africa, as well as the World Bank, as Country Director covering Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal. Dr. Songwe holds a PhD in Mathematical Economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics, a Master of Arts in Law and Economics, and a Diplôme d’études approfondies in Economic Science and Politics from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. [/expand]
Srdjan Mrkic

Srdjan Mrkic

Chief, Demographic Statistics Section, UNSD

[expand title=”Read Bio”] Mr. Srdjan Mrkić is a lawyer and a career statistician at national and international level for the past 30 years. As the Chief of Demographic Statistics in United Nations Statistics Division, he is discharging the responsibilities of the technical director of two international programmes – on population and housing censuses and on civil registration and vital statistics systems. Mr. Mrkić is leading the work on developing international standards for population and housing censuses, civil registration, vital statistics and identity management and is a member of the United Nations Legal Identity Expert Group, established to promote holistic approach to civil registration, vital statistics and identity management. [/expand]
Samatar Omar Elmi

Samatar Omar Elmi

Senior ICT Officer
African Development Bank

[expand title=”Read Bio”] Samatar Omar Elmi is the Senior ICT Project Manager for Department Transportation, Urban Development, and ICT at the African Development Bank (ADB). He began his career in telecommunications in Djibouti prior to joining ADB in 2011. Since then he has led the investigation and the implementation of several structural projects on the continent, the most emblematic being the Dorsal fiber optics scheme interconnecting the regional countries of Central Africa. Beyond infrastructure, he has worked on various projects implementing ICT development through various African countries. He has begun several initiatives (studies and investment projects) on the modernization of the value chain within the civil state using the underlying data facts (births, deaths, marriages, and divorces) to establish national systems of electronic identification management for which the applications are limitless. He holds an engineering degree from Telecom Saint-Etienne (France) and a Master’s in Economics and International Development from the School of Economics at the University of Auvergne (France). [/expand]
Andrew Hopkins

Andrew Hopkins

Chief, Identity Management & Registration Section, UNHCR

[expand title=”Read Bio”] Andrew HOPKINS has over 30 years’ extensive experience in managing refugee programs globally. He has operated in a wide range of harsh and challenging environments that most governments or law enforcement agencies would not normally encounter. He has led global registration and identity management efforts which ensure refugee identities are anchored and maintained within a system of inclusivity. He has also deployed registration documentation and biometrics systems in field operations as part of the agency’s global population management efforts, and has designed and managed large-scale group resettlement projects particularly in Africa and in Asia. [/expand]