The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and Mastercard today unveiled plans for a range of digital solutions that will advance the country’s digital economy aspirations and give citizens a new way to prove their identity when accessing government and business services.
The partnership is intended to bring local digital identity and related services - like digital document signing and verification - that citizens of North Macedonia can use across a number of day-to-day activities. Among the first applications are electronic “Know Your Customer” activities to support remote opening for new bank accounts, without visiting a branch in person, and new prepaid and postpaid mobile phone accounts.
“Technology is changing our lives in ways we could have only dreamed just years ago,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber & intelligence for Mastercard. “The best solutions come by bringing together strong partners. That’s why we’re pleased to work with the North Macedonian government to address real problems for their citizens. With this service, they can use a digital identity for public services, while maintaining control of their information with security, privacy and trust.”
This first-of-its-kind effort will build on the recently created digital identity regulations in North Macedonia and broader European eIDAS (electronic identification, authentication and trust services) standards. Once launched, it will also enable seamless digital interactions between businesses and government agencies across the region and around the globe.
“Propelling our economy is critical. But to meet our potential, everyone must establish a digital trust service foundation,” said Damjan Mancevski, minister of Information Society and Administration.
“This partnership will provide a digital identity service that improves the everyday experience, while increasing the efficiency of our public and private services on the road to greater economic growth,” said Nina Angelovska, Minister of Finance.
The partnership will promote open collaboration with governments, banks, mobile network operators, universities and other partners to shape the services. In addition to the digital identity service, Mastercard will also support other e-government initiatives and promote related best practices from other geographies.
The North Macedonian/Mastercard digital identity service is based upon a distributed model that eliminates the need for a centralized identity database. It builds on Mastercard’s consumer-centric approach outlined in a Principles of Digital Identity vision paper that prioritizes privacy-by-design.
Value of Public-Private Partnerships
According to a recent World Economic Forum white paper, collaboration across the public and private sectors offers the potential to create new models of secure, useful digital identity that build on a commitment to the responsible handling of personal information, giving consumers control over which data is used and how it is used.
Governments around the globe are already working on a wide range of digital identity initiatives, ranging from specifying standards to developing applications and infrastructures.
Mastercard’s efforts with North Macedonia are part of a broader effort to support the transformation of how individuals, businesses and governments interact online. This initiative aligns closely with the company’s partnership with the French government to accelerate the digitization of the country’s economy, along with other strategic collaborations as announced with educational and government institutions in Australia. Further partnerships and pilots will be introduced throughout 2020.