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Cameroon, Rwanda see progress in biometric passport projects implementation

Cameroon, Rwanda see progress in biometric passport projects implementation

Rwanda’s project to issue passports with embedded biometric data has attained a new milestone in its implementation process following the country’s admission into the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Public Key Directory (PKD), according to Rwandan daily The New Times.

The New Times reports that Rwanda recently became the 75th country to join the ICAO PKD (public key directory), meaning it will now be faster and more effective to verify the identity of holders of the passport, for which issuance kicked off over a year and a half ago.

Rwanda’s directorate of immigration and emigration was cited as hailing the move and calling it “…the final stage of the e-passport implementation.”

The statement quoted by The New Times says the development is important because Rwanda’s membership of ICAO PKD will ensure that holders of biometric passports are cleared at receiving countries much quickly and smoothly.

It will also ensure that information found on the passport adheres to required technical stands, supports interoperability and enables prompt exchange of data between member countries, the report explains.

“For the border control of a receiving state to authenticate the e-passport of a foreign visitor, they must have certain information from the issuing state. The ICAO PKD provides an efficient means for a state to upload their own information and download that of other states,” the directorate statement added.

The Rwanda digital passport is an ID document designed with an electronic chip that stores biometric data. Once applied for, it is issued in less than four days, The New Times says.

Cameroon 48-hour biometric passport era draws near

Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of Augentic, the contractor to deliver Cameroon’s new generation of biometric passports, has announced success in a factory level test of the solution to be used for the ePassport project in that country.

Cameroonians are expecting to get biometric passports delivered to them within 48-hours as from March, and that dream looks quite close now as the company in charge of the project says it recently completed a factory test on the solution.

Augentic CEO Labinot Carreti wrote on his official LinkedIn account just days ago that the test revealed an “amazing” performance. He said it was conducted in the presence of authorities of Cameroon’s national delegation for national security (the passport issuing body), who he praised for making the trip amid pandemic constraints.

Carreti added that after the test that was carried out in collaboration with INCM, the main part of their work will soon be moved over to Cameroon as the country looks forward to a “…new generation of e-passports.”

“So pleased by the great progress in implementation of our biggest project: new generation of biometric passports in Cameroon. Works on Yaoundé state-of-the-art Enrollment and Production facility are advancing 24/7. Douala and Garoua are next. The dream of a passport in 48h soon a reality for all Cameroon citizens,” Carreti said in another LinkedIn message.

Cameroon sealed a deal with Augentic for the biometric passports back in September. Last month, the general delegation for national security assured Cameroonians the project was on course as the March commencement date inches closer.

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