This conversation will discuss the recent digital transformation of government identification in Kenya through its Huduma Namba digital ID system. While digital ID systems promise to include those who previously remained ‘unseen’ by the state, along with a range of other purported benefits, what has been the impact on individuals and groups who have long been marginalized and discriminated against in Kenya? Has this system lived up to its grand promise of inclusion so far? How does Huduma Namba relate to broader efforts to digitalize government in Kenya? Should we resist or embrace Huduma Namba and digital government in Kenya, or is there a middle ground?

About the Speaker

Nanjala NyabolaNanjala Nyabola is a writer, political analyst and activist based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her work focuses on African society and politics, technology, international law and feminism. She is the author of Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Politics in Kenyaand has published extensively in academic and non-academic outlets, including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera and The Guardian. Nanjala held a Rhodes Scholarship at the University of Oxford and holds a JD from Harvard Law School.

About the Series

Transformer States: A Conversation Series on Digital Government and Human Rights is a newly-launched series of virtual conversations organized by the Digital Welfare State and Human Rights Project, based at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. Through in-depth interviews with practitioners and academics working on digital government, this series aims to further explore digital transformation and its impact on the lives and rights of individuals. Read more about the series here.


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