A 4-Part Series: The Mobile Identity Saga

From the producers of the critically acclaimed “The Dark Side of Identity” Trilogy, get ready for yet another exciting and thought-provoking series focused on mobile for ID4D!

Mobile phones have impacted every aspect of our lives in a most profound way, and their influence  continues to grow, accelerated in recent times by the advent of mobile payments and credentials. In developed countries, today they are used routinely to attest for the COVID-19 vaccination status, to affect payments, and generally to assist individuals in their daily lives and to keep them connected as active members of society.  They have become the unique object that we cannot leave home without and the one that replaces everything else that we would normally carry.

While the convenience  of mobile phones in developed countries is uncontestable, they take another degree of significance within the development context that goes beyond convenience. In that context, they may be a necessity for empowering the poor and for a meaningful and dignified existence in a community.

This is especially true in remote and rural areas, where mobile phones often represent the only means for access and participation.

In the development context, policies such as SIM registration have set the stage for SIM numbers and mobile phones to become the proxy to individual digital identity. As such, access to mobile phones becomes a key prerequisite for inclusion. In fact, as a proxy to identity, access to affordable mobile phones could be considered a human right, especially as more and more essential services become exclusively available via that channel.

It is therefore abundantly clear that the topic of mobile for identity development is one of utmost importance.

This was validated by the call for speakers we issued on the topic, which has resulted in record high submissions (over 130 candidates). As a result we are telling the story of mobile and identity within a 4-part series, we call “The Mobile Identity Saga” for short.  To tell this story we interviewed nearly 100 of the most promising applicants and supplemented them by recruiting subject matter experts and thought leaders. Together they will help us tell this powerful story.

All in all, over 45 speakers are now cast in 4 LiveCast episodes covering 15 segments.

Join Our Saga Premiere!

The Saga will begin by focusing on pro-poor policy and solutions (first two episodes) to explore the range of the possible and the enabling environment and technologies required to get there. It will then take a deep dive into the most promising use cases that hold disruptive potential (3rd episode) and finally it will explore (episode 4) the future of mobile identity in a pro-growth context.


This Saga is a must-watch series. Beyond being a story about one of the most important disruptive forces in our lives, it is being told through the voices of dozens of experts from all over the world, and is produced under the direction of the world’s most prominent identity expert, Dr. Joseph Atick and his seasoned production team at ID4Africa. Together they have produced for you thus far, over 60 hours of high quality and pertinent content through 26 LiveCasts that covered so many aspects of identity. This same team brought you the hit episodes such as The Dark Side of Identity Trilogy (season 3) and the Vaccination Trilogy (season 2). If you enjoy these productions, you’re guaranteed to love this Saga.

So mark your calendar and register TODAY!


Dr. Joseph Atick

Executive Chairman

Dr. Joseph Atick is a recognized world renowned advocate and expert on identity matters. Having been one of the founders of the identity industry nearly 30 years ago, he led several companies in that domain and developed some of the foundational algorithms underlying secure digital identity today, including the first commercially viable face recognition algorithm.

Dr. Atick retired from the industry in 2010 to focus on promoting identity for social and economic development around the world. In that mission he partnered with the World Bank and other UN agencies, and was heavily involved in the development and field testing of the methodology and analytic tools that would guide the subsequent activities in that space, and would lead to the launch of the ID4D initiative at the World Bank.

In 2014, he co-founded ID4Africa as a pan-African Movement to promote responsible digital transformations through digital identity in Africa. He is a staunch defender of privacy, data protection and human rights and continues to provide counsel to governments and international organization on the use of identity for public good. Dr. Atick holds a Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics from Stanford University.

Mobile as a tool for empowering women and girls: Tracking the impact

Prof. Ridhi Kashyap

Professoral Fellow & Associate Professor of Social Demography
Nuffield College - Oxford University

Ridhi Kashyap is associate professor of social demography at the University of Oxford and professorial fellow of Nuffield College. 

Her research covers topics linked to human development, population change, and their relationship with digitalization. She leads the Digital Gender Gaps project (www.digitalgendergaps.org), which the use of real-time social media datasets for studying digital gender inequalities, and the understanding of the impacts of digital technologies on gender inequalities.

Mobile Adoption in Africa: Current status & trends

Melle Tiel Groenestege

Director, Policy & Advocacy – Digital Inclusion, Mobile for Development

Melle Tiel Groenestege is Director Policy & Advocacy of the Digital Inclusion programmes at the GSMA, the trade association representing the interests of over 750 mobile operators and the broader ecosystem worldwide.

He works on policies and advocacy campaigns in mainly the Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa to address the barriers to mobile internet adoption, expanding mobile broadband coverage and bridging the digital gender divide.

Prior to joining the GSMA, Melle was responsible for Government Relations at the headquarters of VEON, one of the largest telecommunication providers active in emerging markets. Before joining VEON, Melle worked at the International Telecommunications Union on corporate strategy, focusing on the role of digital technologies in advancing the UN Sustainable Development Agenda.

Melle holds a Master’s degree in Business Information Management from the Rotterdam School of Management and studied at the National University of Singapore, the University of Amsterdam and the Free University Amsterdam.

Re-examining mobile & telecom policies in the era of digital identity

Melle Tiel Groenestege

Director, Policy & Advocacy – Digital Inclusion, Mobile for Development

Casey Torgusson

Senior Digital Development Specialist
The World Bank

Casey Torgusson is a Senior Digital Development Specialist with the World Bank Group.  He is a digital program coordinator for a number of countries across East and Southern Africa and is team leader for investment projects supporting broadband access, digital economy development and digital transformation of public services.  He is the co-author of recent digital economy studies in Rwanda and Kenya, a report on development of a Single Digital Market in East Africa and co-leads the Bank’s Digital and Climate Community of Practice.

Fiona Asonga


Mobile: A game changer for birth registration?
A: Scene-Setting
C: Policy Discussion
Cornelius Williams

Cornelius Williams

Director, Child Protection, Programme Group

Cornelius Williams is UNICEF’s global Director for Child Protection, responsible for the organisation’s strategic direction, policy and programming in the field of child protection.

A seasoned child protection professional with more than 30 years of global, regional and country experience with UNICEF and Save the Children, Cornelius has led programmes in both humanitarian and development settings across a wide range of child protection programming areas. Cornelius has served on several Advisory Boards including the CPC Learning Network and Changing the Way We Care, and currently serves on the WeProtect Global Alliance to End Child Sexual Exploitation Online and ID4Africa. He also sits on the Steering Committees of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme Female Genital Mutilation and Global Programme to End Child Marriage and the UN Legal Identity Taskforce.

Mr. Williams holds a Masters from the University of East Anglia, UK, specializing in International Child Welfare. He is a national of Sierra Leone and is based in New York.

A: Scene-Setting

Bhaskar Mishra

Civil Registration and Vital Statistics and Legal Identity Specialist

Bhaskar Mishra works as the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics and Legal Identity Specialist with UNICEF HQ, New York. He also supports UNICEF’s work on the UN Legal Identity Agenda. From 2016 to 2021, Bhaskar worked with the UNICEF Tanzania CO as the Child Protection Specialist for Birth & Death Registration, supporting the Government of Tanzania in scaling up the simplified birth and death registration system. Previously, Bhaskar worked as the Deputy Registrar General responsible for implementing India’s birth and death registration system.
B: Country Experiences

Khadidjatou Thiam

Statistician, Vital Statistics Manager
Direction de l'Etat civil

Khadidjatou Thiam works at the Civil Registration Directorate as a Statistician in charge of Vital Statistics.

She holds a master’s degree in Applied Statistics from Gaston Berger University in Saint Louis and has a basic training in computer mathematics and finance. She also has a certification in project and program monitoring and evaluation.

B: Country Experiences

Iness Pascaline Yameogo

Director of Unique Identification and Security of Civil Registration Documents
General Directorate of Modernization of Civil Registration

Iness Pascaline YAMEOGO is Director of the Unique Identification and Security of Civil Registration Documents at the General Directorate of Modernization of Civil Registration– a core unit within the Ministry of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Social Cohesion. She is responsible for the modernization of civil registration services, the creation and implementation of a unique identifier for citizens, as well as securing data with the competent structures. Previously, Inès was Head of Networks and Information Systems Security within the IT Services Department.
B: Country Experiences

Jonas Oijevaar

Product Manager ID & Security
WCC Group

Bio not yet available.

B: Country Experiences

Margaux Audet

Africa & APAC Sales Manager
Digitech Development

Margaux Audet is Africa & APAC Sales Manager at Digitech Development. In this role, she assists countries develop, strengthen, and scale-up their CRVS systems by providing access to expertise, networks, and knowledge. She works on projects in Africa, Asia and Pacific financed by the World Bank, European Union and UN agencies.
She sets up innovative, custom-tailored Civil Registry and Vital Statistics schemes and workflows. Also, she assists governments in reviewing their current implementations as well as assessing procurement efforts.

C: Policy Discussion

Annina Wersun

Co-Founder of New Legacy Digital, and Director, Community Development and Engagement,

Annina is Co-Founder of New Legacy Digital, a consultancy that focuses on making digital products and services that deliver sustainable social impact. She is also co-lead of the newly formed OpenCRVS.org, the digital public good for civil registration in low resource settings. Annina has over 12 years of digital transformation experience globally across both public and private sectors, and has spent the last 8 years working on CRVS system transformation, focusing on human-centred service design and the role that technology can play as an enabler.

Special thanks to our Development Partners

This LiveCast is brought to you with the proud support of our development partners – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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