Tunisia: Civil Society Skeptical as E-Identity Platform Moves Ahead

by | Apr 11, 2023 | Economic, Legal, Social, Tunisia


On 11 April, 2023, the government announced the launch of an “e-identity” service with Prime Minister Najla Bouden present along with several senior members of the government. The new service will reportedly help facilitate digital payments and increase ease of payment. 

The system leverages a portal that citizens can access through the website e-bawaba.tn. The digital identity project falls within the major reforms of the government in the areas of administrative modernization and digital transformation.

The Digital Identity project was launched last August, and it will enable “the verification of the citizen’s identity remotely in a reliable and secure way, and it is linked to an internationally recognized electronic authentication certificate, the private phone number and the digital identifier for each person,” according to the Ministry of Communication Technologies. 

The number of digital identities activated to date has reportedly reached 39,000. Additionally, the electronic payment card associated with digital identities will be launched at the end of this week. There are plans to continue the rollout throughout the country.

Legal and rights activists are raising concerns about the program, calling for greater transparency and the inclusion of civil society members. Concerns swirl around the potential for large amounts of data collected through the portal being used to breach the personal privacy of citizens.  The government has promised attention to data protections.


The modernization and digitization of services in Tunisia will be a critical step forward for the economy and for social welfare. Such developments hold the potential for efficiency, but also for combatting fraud and expanding financial inclusion.

While the government is pressing to roll out digital identity services starting with some civil servants, broader implementation will be challenging. Mistrust in government and a lack of access to the supporting technologies will make it difficult for digital identity services to reach many. With so few Tunisians currently participating in the formal financial system, the rollout of this project will undoubtedly face challenges in reaching such users. 

Furthermore, addressing data privacy concerns in a meaningful and transparent way will be essential to achieving broader adoption, building trust in the system, and receiving additional international funding for the program.


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