Identity Verification and Societal Challenges: Explaining the Gap Between Service Provision and Development Outcomes

The capability to produce a secure, reliable form of identification on request is taken for granted by many citizens, especially those living in countries with advanced economies. This capability provides numerous development benefits for individuals, from accessing government and business services to establishing their right of residence and employment in a region. Furthermore, nationwide use of reliable means of identification can help to combat crime and illegal immigration. Efforts to introduce identity verification services in Nigeria have been presented by policymakers as an intervention that would lead to a wide range of such development outcomes. However, these benefits are proving difficult to realize. The use of identity smart cards aims to improve the current situation in which most Nigerian citizens do not possess reliable means of identifying themselves by, say, an international passport or driving license. Although IS research is well aware that the provision of a servic


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