The World Bank Group, under its Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative, has launched the first “Mission Billion Challenge” which aims to better protect people’s privacy, and empower them with greater control over their personal data.

The Mission Billion Challenge is aimed at the “invisible” one billion people who are still unable to prove their identity.

Innovators must design a complete solution for digital identification systems or enhance existing solutions.

The challenge is offering cash prizes totalling $100,000 with a top prize of $50,000 to the most innovative solution that is practical, cost effective and relevant to developing countries.

“Digital identification systems can play a transformational role across key areas such as financial inclusion, access to services and social safety nets, and effective humanitarian response.

“Yet this can also create important privacy challenges,” said Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Infrastructure at the World Bank.

“The Mission Billion Challenge offers an exciting opportunity to tap into the most creative minds to help us design digital identification systems to enhance data protection and empower people with greater control over their personal data.”

The Challenge is powered by MIT Solve platform, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Omidyar Network and the Australian government, and in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

“MIT’s mission inspires us to use our strengths in education, research and innovation to make a better world, and the World Bank Group’s Mission Billion Challenge represents an extraordinary opportunity for us to help advance work of significant global importance,” said MIT President, L. Rafael Reif.

“In designing the MIT Solve platform, we aimed to create a global community of problem solvers: creative minds focused together on tackling intractable challenges.

“So we are excited for the opportunity to work with the World Bank Group’s ID4D Initiative to focus that community on ways to provide people in poverty with sound, affordable identification – a basic tool for advancing themselves and participating in modern society.”

Applications for the Mission Billion Challenge will close February 24, 2019.

By: ClaraDoku/