There are around 300,000 stateless individuals living in Zimbabwe who do not possess any form of identity documents. Many of these individuals are migrants who have either lost their papers or never had any to begin with.
Without these documents, they are unable to access digital services or participate in the economy, as they are required to have IDs in order to open a bank account or secure employment. Caroline Kache of Amnesty International noted that statelessness in Zimbabwe is particularly dire, as it means that stateless individuals are unable to work, get an education, open a bank account, or get married officially.
Statelessness is often perpetuated from one generation to the next as stateless individuals have stateless children. The digitization of various services in Zimbabwe has further exacerbated the challenges faced by stateless individuals, as they are unable to access digital financial services or mobile money without an ID card.
Many companies in Zimbabwe also require a national ID for employment, even for non-skilled jobs that do not require educational certificates. In order to cope with their situation, some stateless individuals in Zimbabwe resort to using borrowed ID documents or relying on others to open bank accounts and withdraw money on their behalf.
The lack of IDs has had significant impacts on the lives of stateless individuals in Zimbabwe, as they are unable to vote, access assistance from non-governmental organizations, or fully integrate into society. As a result, they are appealing to the government to provide them with the necessary documents to allow them to live like other Zimbabweans, even if they are not fully recognized as citizens.
It is important for governments to provide registration and classification documents to stateless individuals, similar to how they support refugees, in order to help integrate them into the economy and society.