The Gambia eyes biometric passport

Reports are emerging to suggest that The Gambia is set to introduce a biometric passport to its citizens.

According to a report in Xinhua, the new passport will cost US $100 and will last for five years.

“The passport’s critical information is both printed on the data page of the passport and stored in the chip. Public Key Infrastructure is used to authenticate the data stored electronically in the passport chip making it expensive and difficult to forge when all security mechanisms are fully and correctly implemented,” an official from the immigration department said in the Xinhua report.

“We want to discourage forgery of documents in the country and also to avoid easy access to passport by the young people who do take clandestine journey to Europe through back way.”

Previously, the country introduced a biometric identification card, through its GAMBIS biometric identity management system, which has aimed to capture the biometrics of citizens in the West African country.

This is a major deployment for Gambia, though Senegal –which surrounds The Gambia — has been a hotbed for biometric activity.

As we reported last month, The Société nationale d’édition de documents administratifs et d’identification du Sénégal  has awarded European system integrator Zetes a contract to produce the Senegalese biometric visa.

The long term “People ID” project entails 66 fixed enrolment stations to embassies, consulates and Senegalese border posts. In addition, Zetes has also been tasked with data consolidation and AFIS deduplication based on the gathered biometric and biographic data.

The contract is set to last five years and will produce an estimated 300,000 visas each year.

As of yet, it is unclear which company will provide the Gambian biometric passports, or if they will be facilitated through the GAMBIS system.

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