Absa and the Work Bank have announced a new partnership where the pair will look for solutions designed to tackle digital identity issues and address the growing issue of people who are not able to prove who they are and therefore cannot get access to essential services.

In order to find solutions, Absa’s WorkInProgress lab in Cape Town will play host to the inaugural Mission Billion Innovation Challenge.

Handling things from the World Bank’s side will be their Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative, with the event happening on 31st January this week, between 09:00 and 13:00. If you’re still interested in the event, and find yourself in the Cape Town, there is still limited space available to register.

The event in question will be a “solveathon” as the organisers for the Mission Billion Innovation Challenge terms it, with a specific focus on how digital identification systems in developing countries can be improved.

“Digital identification has transformational for development – making services and the digital economy inclusive, especially for the poor,” noted Vyjayanti Desai, program manager for the ID4D initiative.

“But people need to trust digital ID systems, beginning with data protection, privacy, and providing people with ultimate control over their data. We launched Mission Billion to find practical ways to achieve this in developing countries,” adds Desai.

There’s also added monetary incentive for those competing in the solveathon, with a cash prizes totalling $100 000 (~R1.36 million) and $50 000 (~R680 000) allocated for the top prize.