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Digitizing Civil Status Records in Ivory Coast

16 April 2024

The National Office of Civil Status and Identification (ONECI) of Ivory Coast has recently achieved a significant milestone in its commitment to modernize the national civil registration system. In the coastal city of Grand-Bassam, over 200,000 civil status records have been digitized in a pilot project, paving the way for a transition to fully digitized registers.

The digitization process, undertaken through a collaboration between ONECI and the technical operator SEMLEX, symbolizes a crucial step towards more accessible and efficient civil status services for Ivorian citizens. Now, residents of the coastal city of Grand-Bassam will be able to remotely obtain birth, marriage, and death certificates, eliminating the need to physically visit the town hall.

Ago Christian Kodia, Director-General of ONECI, officially handed over the storage media containing the digitized civil status registers to the Mayor of Grand-Bassam, Jean-Louis Moulot, during a symbolic ceremony on April 8, 2024. This initiative is part of the National Civil Status and Identification Strategy, aiming to modernize and secure civil status data across the Ivorian territory.

During the 16-day pilot project, more than 200,000 records were dematerialized, including 185,056 births, 5,943 marriages, and 14,404 deaths. This milestone represents a technological advancement in the preservation of the precious history and identity of Grand-Bassam, a historic city with a rich cultural heritage.

Ago Christian Kodia emphasizes the importance of this initiative for the future of civil status in Ivory Coast: “By digitizing these valuable documents, we are not only preserving our past but also building a bridge to the future by making this information accessible to future generations.”

The next crucial step, digitization will enable citizens to order their civil status certificates remotely, providing increased convenience and enhancing document security. This progress is part of the broader deployment of the National Register of Individuals (RNPP), an initiative aimed at creating a comprehensive and secure database on the civil status and biometrics of Ivory Coast residents.

While the pilot project in Grand-Bassam marks a major success, ONECI continues its efforts to extend digitization across the entire country, with nearly 250 civil status centers already open and ongoing training for civil status agents.

By ensuring the reliability and security of civil status records, Ivory Coast reaffirms its commitment to modernization and addresses the challenges posed by the passage of time and environmental and human risks that threaten the preservation of paper records.