SIA talks open APIs at ID4Africa

July 2019 Editor's Choice, Access Control & Identity Management, Integrated Solutions

The Secure Identity Alliance (SIA), the global identity and secure digital services advisory body, announced the general availability of the Open Standards Identity API (OSIA) at ID4Africa. Supported by major global identity providers, OSIA directly addresses the high-cost problems of proprietary technology and the lack of standardisation within government identity systems.

In short, this initiative eliminates vendor lock-in and enables multiple identity registries and systems to ‘talk’ to one another – independent of technology, solution architecture or vendor.

With these open standards in place, governments will be able to initiate robust identification platforms for their citizens, preserve the value of existing systems, and evolve their environments without fear of supplier or technology dependency.

OSIA provides the standardised data formats and open interfaces needed to address the interoperability challenges that have hampered the evolution of national ID systems in the past.

The OSIA functional and technical specifications are freely available on the GitHub collaboration platform.

Frédéric Trojani, chairman of the Security Identity Alliance board, said: “The decision to create a pioneering new open-standards environment was initiated in direct response to delegate feedback captured at last year’s ID4Africa event – where the issue of vendor lock-in was identified as a major roadblock hindering the progress of African identity projects. The Secure Identity Alliance, supported by the world’s leading identity providers, listened and responded.

“Over the past 12 months, the SIA has led the development of the OSIA initiative – which at last gives governments full control over their sovereign identity systems.”

Injecting new levels of flexibility and interoperability, the OSIA Initiative enables governments to freely evolve, adapt and add to their sovereign ID systems, choosing the most appropriate solutions and partners for their needs without the risk of disruption, operational failure or unnecessary cost.

Nigeria joins SIA

SIA has also announced that Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has joined the SIA as an Advisory Observer. In this capacity, Nigeria NIMC, represented by Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, director general/CEO, will chair the Advisory Committee of the OSIA (Open Standards Identity API) initiative.

As OSIA Advisory Committee Chair, Aziz will play a critical role in overseeing the work carried out by the OSIA GitHub Community and OSIA Workgroup. This includes the development of functional and technical interface documents to support the Open Source API, developed in collaboration by SIA vendors and available on GitHub.

“I’m delighted that the era of vendor lock-in is fast coming to an end, yet many agencies and governments across Africa remain unaware of the potential opportunities that OSIA unlocks – including a reduction in the total cost of ownership of their ID systems,” said Aziz. “Part of my role will be to spread the word and ensure everyone knows they can access the interconnectivity resources they need to enable high functioning and interoperable ID ecosystems.”

“The work of the Advisory Committee of the OSIA initiative will be critical, going forward, in helping to ensure governments around the world can implement the most appropriate solutions for their needs, without commercial or technical restrictions, and we’re delighted that Aziz from NIMC will help guide and shape this vital programme,” Trojani added.

For more information, contact Stéphanie de Labriolle at

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