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In our second webinar series on the impact of COVID-19 on identity management in Africa, ID4Africa Executive Chairman, Dr Joseph Atick, will again engage with an illustrious panel of representatives of the world’s leading development agencies. These experts will try to answer some fundamental questions related to how societies will need to manage identity in a post COVID era to support their sustainable development and to mitigate against risks and social shocks that can result from pandemics and other catastrophes that are now within the realm of the imaginable.

This is simply a can't miss webinar

Many aspects of identity for development will be re-examined in the new world context, guided by the identification principles that the worldwide community has recently elaborated in an extensive collaborative effort.

The panel will explore the tools that digital identity provides to help nations reopen their societies and respond to the social and economic consequences of the pandemic over short, medium and long terms.

The discussion will go beyond the new normals for foundational identity and civil registration, all the way into enabling service delivery, payment systems, social safety nets, multi-stakeholder engagements, free movement, data protection, security, legal frameworks, interoperability, regional and continental schemes, among others that aim to establish sustainable paradigms for development within an elevated threat and high friction context, which is expected to be the new normal for our world at least for the foreseeable future.

If there is one webinar you will attend this month

Make it this one!

The Moderator

Joseph Atick

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. He 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.

The Panelists

Vyjayanti Desai

Program Manager
The World Bank – ID4D

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As Program Manager, Vyjayanti Desai is focused on scaling up and operationalizing ID4D and collaborating with key external partners. Within the WBG, she has shaped many cross-departmental and inter-WBG programs, actively working to develop a unified agenda and designing integrated multi-sectoral solutions on a range of topics. ID4D is a multi-sectoral initiative of the World Bank Group (WBG), integrating approaches across several Global Practices and departments. Learn more at:

Robert Palacios

Robert Palacios

Global Thematic Group Leader
The World Bank

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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.
Alan Gelb

Alan Gelb

Senior Fellow
Center for Global Development

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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.
Dr. Vera Songwe

Dr. Vera Songwe

UN UNder-secretary-general and Executive Secretary, UNECA

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Dr. 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.

Cornelius Williams

Cornelius Williams

Associate Director and Global Chief of Child Protection

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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.
Niall McCANN

Niall McCann

Policy Advisor and Project Manager, Legal Identity,

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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.

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Date & Time: June 17th, 2:30-4:00pm CET (Paris Time)

[Language: English only]

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