Stewart Brand, a renowned American writer, once said, “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” True to it, in order to be prominently featured in the current tech revolution, the respective African governments have in recent years leveraged the transformative powers of technology to solve some of their countries’ problems.
Nigeria, which prides itself on being the continent’s giant, has made extensive use of technology in the last decade to address some of the country’s numerous challenges. These include everything from connectivity to financial inclusion, mobility, health care, and much more. The country is once again embarking on a historic initiative, this time investing $11.4 million (N5.3 billion) in the development of an Electronic Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System (eCRVS). This significant investment aims to bring the country’s birth and death registration systems into the digital age. Messrs Barnksforte Technologies, in collaboration with the National Population Commission, will fund the project, which will have far-reaching implications for Nigeria’s tech sector and overall economy.
The Need for Digital Birth and Death Registration
Nigeria has a population of more than 200 million people. As a result, it is critical to have a dependable system for registering births and deaths. Traditional manual birth and death registration processes in Nigeria have long been plagued by challenges. These include low coverage, insufficient data, and inefficiency, which results in incomplete, inaccurate, and delayed records, forcing a large number of citizens to rely on age declarations rather than birth certificates, leaving room for falsification. These challenges, however, will be effectively addressed with the implementation of the eCRVS system, revolutionising the way birth and death registrations are conducted.
This system is necessary for a variety of reasons, including:
First and foremost, accurate data on births and deaths is required for planning and development. This information can be used to track population trends, identify areas of need, and allocate resources as needed. It can also be used to improve healthcare by tracking diseases and health trends, identifying vulnerable populations, and developing targeted interventions.
Furthermore, accurate birth and death data is critical for raising educational standards. The information can be used for planning, tracking enrollment rates in schools, identifying areas of need, and allocating resources accordingly. Similarly, the data will be used to improve social welfare by tracking poverty rates, identifying vulnerable populations, and developing targeted interventions.
The eCRVS system also improves the accuracy and data integrity of the registration process. The digital platform reduces human errors while also ensuring the accuracy and integrity of birth and death records. The system reduces errors during registration by implementing automated data entry and validation mechanisms, thereby improving the overall quality of the data collected.
Also, eCRVS can help to improve Nigerian citizens’ security. The government can track the movements of its citizens and identify potential threats to national security by registering births and deaths. The eCRVS can also be used to generate identity documents like birth certificates and passports. These documents can assist in the prevention of fraud and identity theft.
It will likewise expand Nigeria’s coverage of birth and death registrations. The digital system ensures a more comprehensive and reliable database by eliminating the barriers inherent in manual processes, such as errors, omissions, and delays.
eCRVS Simplify Registration and Recording Keeping Process
Furthermore, the electronic system simplifies the registration and record-keeping processes, eliminating the need for paperwork and reducing administrative burdens. It also significantly improves efficiency by instituting centralised storage and easy retrieval of birth and death records. This streamlined approach results in faster certificate issuance, ensuring prompt and efficient service delivery to individuals in need of official documentation.
In addition, a digital birth and death registry allows Nigeria to conduct more efficient analysis and reporting of vital statistics. Policymakers, researchers, and public health professionals can gain a better understanding of demographic trends if accurate and up-to-date data is readily available. This invaluable data allows for the development of targeted interventions and the implementation of evidence-based policies to drive long-term national development.
Implications for Nigeria’s Tech Sector
The eCRVS has far-reaching implications for Nigeria’s burgeoning technology sector. It demonstrates the country’s commitment to leveraging technology to drive innovation and digital transformation in a variety of sectors. The collaboration between Barnksforte and NPC exemplifies the private-public sector collaboration in harnessing the power of technology for national development.
It equally provides a fertile ground for tech startups and businesses to develop innovative solutions to improve the system. It opens the door to the development of digital tools, applications, and platforms that can integrate with the eCRVS system, enhancing its capabilities and potential. This investment will create jobs and attract both domestic and foreign investment in Nigeria’s technology sector.
Furthermore, the eCRVS project acts as a catalyst for the development of Nigeria’s digital infrastructure. The establishment of reliable connectivity, data centers, and cybersecurity measures is required for the implementation of a robust and secure electronic platform. This investment in digital infrastructure will not only support the eCRVS system, but will also have a knock-on effect, propelling the growth of the country’s broader digital ecosystem.
The importance of the eCRVS platform to the Nigerian economy cannot be over emphasized. Birth and death registration data that is accurate and complete is critical for effective policymaking, planning, and resource allocation. The eCRVS system will provide reliable and up-to-date data that can inform evidence-based decision-making, ultimately driving economic growth and development, by digitizing the registration process.
First, having accurate birth and death statistics will allow the government to better understand demographic trends and patterns. This knowledge is required for efficient resource allocation and planning in industries such as healthcare, education, and social welfare. Policymakers can direct resources where they are most needed, ensuring efficient service delivery and optimal use of public funds, with a clearer picture of the population’s needs and characteristics.
Furthermore, the eCRVS system will allow for better monitoring and evaluation of development programs and initiatives. Policymakers can more accurately assess the impact of interventions by linking birth and death data to other socioeconomic indicators. This data will allow them to identify successful strategies and make data-driven adjustments for maximum effectiveness. As a result of this targeted approach to development programs, better outcomes, increased productivity, and improved socioeconomic well-being will be achieved.
Also, the digitisation of birth and death records has the potential to boost economic growth by increasing efficiency and productivity. The previous manual processes were time-consuming and prone to errors, causing delays and inconvenience for those in need of official documentation. The streamlined registration and record-keeping processes of the eCRVS system will significantly reduce administrative burdens and speed up certificate issuance. Individuals save time as a result of this efficiency, allowing them to participate more actively in economic activities and contributing to overall productivity gains.
More Benefits of eCRVS to the Economy
Additionally, , the eCRVS system will create opportunities for the development of innovative digital solutions and services. As the demand for technology-driven tools and applications grows, local tech startups and companies can seize this opportunity to develop value-added services around the eCRVS system. This, in turn, fosters entrepreneurship, job creation, and economic diversification within the tech sector. Also, the digital infrastructure required to support the eCRVS system, such as connectivity and data centers, will drive investments and create jobs in the ICT sector, further stimulating economic growth.
Apart from the immediate economic benefits, the digital birth and death registration platform will help to accelerate Nigeria’s overall digital transformation. It is a powerful example of how technology can be used to address societal issues and propel progress. The successful implementation of the eCRVS system will boost confidence in Nigeria’s technological capabilities and position the country as a regional leader in digital innovation.
Ultimately, Nigeria’s investment in the development of a digital birth and death registration platform is a significant step forward in the country’s technological advancement and economic growth. The eCRVS system promises increased accuracy, expanded coverage, more efficient record management, and improved data analysis, all of which are critical for informed decision-making and long-term development. The initiative will not only benefit the tech sector by creating jobs and investment opportunities, but it will also drive economic growth and productivity in other sectors. Nigeria is positioning itself for a brighter and more prosperous future by embracing digital transformation.