ID4Africa Welcomes Cornelius Williams, Associate Director and Global Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF to its expanded Board of Advisors

By | September 11, 2018

New York, USA – ID4Africa, the ID-4-All Movement that accompanies African nations in their adoption of robust and responsible identity systems in the service of development, announced today the addition of Mr. Cornelius Williams, Associate Director and Global Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF, as the newest member of the ID4Africa Advisory Board. Mr. Williams joins a well-established team of Board members which includes Mr. Robert Palacios, Global Thematic Group Leader at the World Bank; Mr. Niall McCann, Lead Electoral Advisor at the UNDP; Mr. Samatar Omar Elmi, Senior ICT Officer at the African Development Bank; and Mr. Alan Gelb, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development.

The Executive Chairman of ID4Africa, Dr. Joseph J. Atick stated “We are excited that Mr. Williams is joining us at this juncture in time. Civil registration and identification of children must be front and center to any identity development agenda, and there is no organization better than UNICEF to accompany us to ensure that this is the case in the emerging identity ecosystems we are promoting in Africa.”

A national of Sierra Leone and veteran advocate to humanitarian causes for child protection, Mr. Williams brings to the Board over 25 years of extensive experience in managing child protection programs in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa with UNICEF and Save the Children. His involvement on the Board brings significant dynamic to the ID4Africa Movement as it continues to place greater emphasis on the importance of legal identity at its source through birth registration and its integration into foundational identity schemes.

Mr. Williams shared “In joining the Board I see my role as one that will ensure that children in Africa are central to the ID4Africa agenda.” He further added, My commitment is to see every child in every African nation receive their fundamental right to have a legal identity from birth. A birth certificate – as proof of legal identity – is critical to ensuring that children are recognized before the law and can exercise their rights. This ensures that children can access basic social services such as health, education and social assistance and that they are protected from violence, abuse and exploitation”.

 Mr. Williams continued “Over the years I have witnessed the positive difference partnerships with the private sector have on progressing functional identity systems. While some African nations are seeing the success of such partnerships, there are still others for which engagement with the private sector is still quite new and are yet to see the benefits. This is where the tripartite platform that ID4Africa provides—whereby governments, development agencies and the private sector engage together—will help to bridge that gap in a sustainable way. There is no other forum to-date that has quite achieved this particular structure, and I’m excited to see the impact of this approach.”

Dr. Atick added “I should underline that the ID4Africa Board of Advisors is not a figurative structure. It is made up of individuals who are passionate about the identity cause and who represent organizations that are at the forefront of the development agenda. They provide active guidance to the Movement and ensure that we are in sync with their institutions. It is truly an honor and privilege to work with such illustrious and passionate individuals.” He continued, “I am looking forward to working with the expanded Board and to engaging with Cornelius to ensure that our actions are consistent with the principle and mandate, championed by Cornelius and UNICEF, of ‘for every child’.”



ID4Africa is an ID-4-All Movement that accompanies African nations on their journey to develop robust and responsible ID ecosystems around digital identity in the service of development, humanitarian action, security and facilitation. It is a tripartite with representation from African governments, development agencies and industry. The aim is to share experience and establish real world best practices that set the correct expectations for what is involved in launching and sustaining successful identity programs. The Movement holds an Annual Meeting in a different African country each year. The Movement was founded in 2014 and held its inaugural meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2015, followed by Annual Meetings in Kigali, Rwanda and Windhoek, Namibia and most recently in Abuja and will be holding its 2019 Annual Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.


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Media Contact: Shauna Taylor, [email protected]