July 15, 2013 -
The Mauritius Government is set to issue new biometric smart ID cards, set to cost the country roughly $40 million.
Set to be issued in September 2013, the smart cards are seen as a way to increase security and improve public services for Mauritians as well as quell fraud, according to a report in Africa Review.
The new ID cards will include an electronic chip containing biometric information, and will be issued to Mauritians over the age of 18. The entire program is set to be completed by 2014, and nearly 890,000 cards will be issued.
The government has awarded the Singapore Immigration Checkpoints Authority the contract for processing these new ID cards, though the official government opposition has blamed the government for not tendering the project to local firms, as the Africa Review report notes.
National biometric programs are popping up in Africa often. A recent program of note is the massive South African eID card objective, in which Gemalto – the appointed contractor – is looking to produce three million ID card per year.
In addition, Nigeria is looking at a scheme that would see all SIM card sales biometrically monitored at the point of sale.