By: Anthony Sedzro
Moses K. Baiden Jr, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Margins Group of companies, says the future belongs to digital identity.
According to him, digital identity will be key to reducing the human interaction in government and business transactions leading to the reduction in corruption, formalisation of the economy, and transforming it.
Digital identity is defined as a number, code, record, object or collection of attributes that are used by information technologies to identify entities such as people, organisations, users and customers. In other words, it is the network or Internet equivalent to the real identity of a person or entity (like a business or government agency) when used for identification in connections or transactions from computers, cell phones or other personal devices.
Baiden was speaking when the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Anders Samuelson, paid a working visit to the factory of Intelligent Card Processing Systems (ICPS), a subsidiary of the Margins Group, off the Spintex road, Accra on November 25, 2017.
Minister Samuelson was part of the officials accompanying the queen of Denmark, Her Majesty Queen Margrete II, who was on a three-day visit to Ghana from November 23 to 25, 2017. The monarch is visiting West Africa and Ghana for the first time to strengthen the ties between Ghana and Denmark and also promote trade among the two nations.
Queen Margarete II came to Ghana with a business delegation of 39 Danish companies within three sectors– food and agriculture, sustainability and maritime, infrastructure and railways.
Margins Group, of which ICPS is a part, was started by Moses Baiden with US$100 from his father’s garage. Today, he has Peter Blom, a Danish national, as a partner and a Director of ICPS. The company has received investments from the Danish government and the Danish International Development Association (DANIDA).
ICPS manufactures Identity Cards, Secure Documents, Bank Cards, Scratch Cards & labels and their clients span across both government and private institutions in varying sectors.
“The future that we have is not just about cards, it is also about going into a new digital age with digital identity that is verifiable and can be attached to addressing systems,” Moses Baiden said.
He said of the partnership: “This demonstrates the importance of international business relationships and how cross-fertilisation of ideas between Europe and Africa can bring the best results as is unfolding before our eyes.”
The Margins CEO explained that, come 2020, Denmark will no longer give development aid to Ghana but, the Nordic country would be rather boosting trade relations.
“As President Akufo-Addo has said, Ghana doesn’t even want aid…we are shifting from this mentality of aid to be able to participate as equals…and the Danish have been trying to get Ghanaian and Danish businesses to cooperate and they see Margins Group and ICPS as a good example of a partnership to lift up Ghana’s GDP and grow the country’s living standards through business.”
Identity Management Systems (IMS), a subsidiary of Margins Group has been selected by the Ghana Government as the Prime Contractor for the Ghana National ID project whilst Intelligent Card Production Systems (ICPS), is a subcontractor. ICPS will manufacture all the National ID Cards locally.
The company issued the first copy of the “Ghana Card” to the president of the Republic, Nana Akufo-Addo,on September 15 this year. The National ID scheme is expected to formalise the economy through the establishment of a national database linking the Passport Office, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Ghana Revenue Authority, among others.
According to the CEO of Margins, Ghana has not had a national ID system since 1968 so this new Ghana Card is significant with many benefits.
“People take it for granted but, it is vitally necessary in order to distribute government services efficiently, without the human intervention. It will take out some of the challenges associated with dealing with people; like corruption, for instance. So, this is significant.”
He revealed that once parliament passed pending legislation to enshrine the GhanaCard in law, ICPS was ready to start manufacturing the cards.
On his part, Anders Samuelson, the Danish Foreign Minister, was impressed with the ICPS and the Danish collaboration that has made the factory a world class one providing jobs and skills for Ghanaians.
“ICPS’ collaboration also emphasises the commitment to promoting local content, including the training and skills necessary for employment creation,” the Foreign Minister said.
He urged ICPS to look beyond the shores of Ghana in its future plans: “So, I hope that the Margins Group can replicate this [card-producing factory] in other countries in the West African sub-region.”