The Malawian National Identity system captures information about each person that is 16 years of age or older and records that information electronically in a central database, known as the National Register. A unique National Identity number is assigned and a National Identity Card is then issued to each person, which allows them to prove their identity and information. A person’s National ID number then identifies and links them across many systems.
A National ID system serves many purposes. The National Register, which contains information about the population enables policy makers to use data driven planning. That is, they have a reliable, accurate and up to date source of information by which to govern and direct policies for development. This enables improvements in service delivery across both the public and private sectors. For the individual, it gives them proof of their nationality and personal information so that they can use it to claim their benefits.
The National Registration Bureau (NRB) within the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security is mandated by law to create and maintain the National ID system. NRB’s mandate is created under the National Registration Act of 2009, which came into force as of 1 August 2015. The NRB is also responsible for Malawi’s system of recording births, deaths and marriages.
The information to be collected is based on the law. It includes a person’s surname and given names, nationality, date of birth, place of birth, sex, current residence, height, eye color, passport number, marital status and parents information. Unique biometric information is also collected in the form of all ten fingerprints, a person’s photograph and signature.