Newest Steward is the first African bank to join Sovrin Foundation

September 4, 2018

Please join us in welcoming one of our newest Sovrin Stewards Absa Group, the first African bank and second company from Africa to join the organization.

Absa Group is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups with presence in 12 countries on the continent and with more than 42,000 employees. It offers products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance.

According to the World Bank, more than 1.1 billion people in the world are unable to prove their identity and therefore lack access to vital services including healthcare, social protection, education and finance. The majority live in Africa and Asia and more than a third are children. Making advances on secure digital ID management is a key priority for the Sovrin Foundation and companies like Absa Group.

As a Sovrin Steward, Absa will help create, operate and maintain a node for Sovrin’s decentralized, permissioned digital identity network for all. This work allows Absa to revolutionize the way it manages and secures personal information and to extend financial inclusion to more customers. Building on Sovrin’s digital identity network can potentially lower operating costs for banks, leading to more financing options for small businesses.

Absa Group’s Chief Technology Officer said, “Self-sovereign identity means that people and businesses can store and update their digital identity data in an identity ‘wallet’ on their own devices and share it efficiently and securely with those who need to validate it. By using digital signatures and distributed ledger technology, this addresses the many gaps and challenges in securing and verifying identity-related information online, a problem inherent to the internet since it was first developed.”

“Self-sovereign identity is the next chapter of the Internet, the one where we — the characters in this story — get to control our digital identities,” says Heather C. Dahl, Executive Director of the Sovrin Foundation. “With Absa’s approval as a Founding Steward, we are a step further toward transforming the way we use the Internet into a place where identities and transactions are verifiable and trustworthy, and the full potential of digital commerce and services can be unleashed.”

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