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Africa yet to embrace technology in people’s registration

10 February 2015, 12:49 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Africa’s failure to embrace new technology for registration of its people’s key rites of passage such as births, marriages and deaths is hindering the continent’s development.

Plan International, an NGO on child welfare, said raised an alarm that if the continent continues using outdated registration systems, it may lag behind in its development goals.

“We have carried out significant research in the field of birth registration, which links into the broader picture of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). We know that when these systems are in place and optimised, they give governments the most reliable data available on their populations,” said Coulibaly Adama, Regional Director for Plan West Africa Regional.

“With this data, they can plan how many schools or health centres are needed in a particular area or where a drive to combat a TB outbreak is required,” he added.

Adama reiterated that modern registration systems provide comprehensive and invaluable information to governments for proper planning. He added that the use of outdated registration systems in most of African countries limits access to government services particularly in rural areas.

Plan Regional Director for Eastern & Southern Africa, Roland Angerer, said governments should register all their citizens starting from births for proper present and future planning.

“As the first formal recognition of the relationship between the state and a child, birth registration is the first step towards obtaining a legal identity and being able to prove who and how old you are,” said Angerer.

“This often makes a difference in preventing children from being exploited as labourers, married under the illegal age or trafficked into slavery. Nevertheless, awareness of the importance of birth registration is still low, particularly in remote parts of Africa,” he added.

He revealed that 85 million children under the age of 5 in Africa have not been registered and that governments don’t even have a record of their existence.

Plan is co-organiser of the 3rd Conference of African Ministers responsible for CRVS being held from February 9th to 13th in Yamoussoukro, Cote D’Ivoire.

During the conference week, governments and international organisations will share their experiences and plan how to move forward to ensure every child is counted and for every citizen to be captured in governments’ records.

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- MyNews24

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