Zambia Halts Digital Identity Rollout Amid Severe Drought Crisis

Zambia has suspended its ambitious digital identity rollout, known as the Integrated National Registration Information System (INRIS), in response to the country’s dire drought situation.

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Zambia Halts Digital Identity Rollout Amid Severe Drought Crisis

The government decided to postpone the INRIS project to allocate financial resources towards addressing the devastating effects of the drought, which is considered the worst in Zambia’s history.

Jacob Mwiimbu, the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, informed legislators about the postponement, citing President Hakainde Hichilema’s administration’s commitment to reallocating funds to mitigate the impacts of the calamity.

The INRIS project, launched in 2022, aimed to modernize civil registration and national identification processes in Zambia at an estimated cost of $80 million.

Despite enrolling over one million Zambians, the project’s implementation has been put on hold due to the urgent need to address the drought crisis.

Mwiimbu emphasized that the severe drought posed significant threats to national food security, water availability, and energy supply, necessitating a shift in the government’s priorities.

Zambia Grapples With the Devastating Effects

The Famine Early Warning System of USAID has warned of heightened food insecurity, with approximately 20 million people in Southern Africa requiring urgent food assistance this year.

The drought’s impact extends beyond Zambia, affecting neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana, Angola, Mozambique, and Madagascar, exacerbating the regional humanitarian crisis.

As Zambia grapples with the devastating effects of the drought, the government has redirected its focus towards providing immediate relief and implementing measures to mitigate the long-term consequences of the climate emergency.



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