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UJ – JBS Artificial Intelligence Hub Seminar on Single Digital Identity

ATTENTION: News editors and reporters

Media Advisory

For immediate release

Thursday, 25 May 2023

The National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Institute, located within the Johannesburg Business School (JBS) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), is pleased to announce an international seminar on the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the design and execution of a Single Digital Identity in South Africa.

It is estimated that 137 million people in Southern Africa do not possess identity documentation: 15 million live in South Africa (SA). This is according to research undertaken by The Economist in its ‘Digital Identity Report South Africa’ published in 2021.

This research underpins the growing digital divide between the developed and developing world, and the need for a digital identity programme in SA as the lack of legal identification has far-reaching consequences for inclusive citizenship, and the elimination of identity fraud. It has also been shown that considerable economic and social gains can be leveraged by using biometrics for identity validation.

The seminar, one of a number of catalytic projects of the recently launched AI Institute, established in partnership with UJ, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT), also intends to demonstrate case studies of countries which have successfully implemented such initiatives. For instance, India’s ‘Aadhaar’ national digital identification programme – the largest in the world with over 1.2 billion Indian residents – uses unique Aadhaar identification numbers and biometric data to provide citizens with access to public and, increasingly, private services.

The seminar will bring together government, industry, and academia experts to shape a steering committee to drive SA’s national single digital identity project. It will also explore issues around infrastructure and supporting technologies, advanced security, privacy, and streamlined access to services across various platforms.

Some of the guest expert speakers participating include:

  • Dr. Shivagami Gugan, Chief Technologist for the Middle East and Africa and a Digital Identity evangelist for Public Sector at Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • Eldrid Jordaan, CEO of Suppple and Professor of Practice at the Johannesburg Business School (JBS).
  • Anubhav Sharma, Deputy Chief of International Business at the National Payments Corporation of India.
  • Steven Sidley, Director at Bridge Capital Future Advisory, Professor of Practice at the Johannesburg Business School (JBS).
  • Max Sokolich, Business Development Manager South Africa and Digital Identity Project Owner, BankservAfrica

Of particular significance to this, says Randall Carolissen, the Dean of JBS: “In February 2023 Cabinet approved the publication of the National Identification and Registration Bill of 2022 for public comments. This Bill gives effect to the Official Identity Management Policy and seeks to provide a single, inclusive, and integrated digital National Identification System (NIS) for all people who live or have lived in South Africa.  The intention is for the NIS to be able to interface with other government and private sector identity systems. This seminar will assist with a blueprint going forward.”

The organising committee of the JBS would like to thank Amazon Web Services (AWS) for their generous contribution to the hosting of the seminar.

Event Details:

Date    : 31 May 2023
Time    : 8.30 for 09.00 – 13.00
Venue : JBS Park Campus, 69 Kingsway Avenue, Auckland Park

Members of the media are invited to attend the seminar either online and/or in-person.

Should you wish to attend in person, please RSVP to me by midday, 29 May 2023.

Should you wish to attend online, please register here:


Note to the Editor: Space is limited and therefore RSVPs are essential. Members of the media WILL NOT be admitted to the event without having RSVP’ed. 

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