There may be no single factor that affects a person’s ability to share in the gains of global development as much as having an official identity. Identity unlocks formal services as diverse as voting, financial account ownership, loan applications, business registration, land titling, social protection payments, and school enrollment. Robust identity systems can help protect against human trafficking or child marriage. In many ways, the roughly 1.1 billion people who lack official identity are invisible, discounted, and left behind. The need for clear understanding and informed engagement around ID technologies has never been greater.

This is the executive summary for Identity in a Digital Age: Infrastructure for Sustainable Development which offers guidance on how to address the systemic problems of today’s digital ID (DID) systems, while critically assessing how emerging technologies will shape the future of DID.