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Cameroon launches enrollment campaign for biometric youth card


Biometrics and digital ID

A process to enroll youth between the ages of 18 and 35 for a biometric youth card program is currently ongoing in Cameroon.

Launched last month, this phase of the enrollment exercise will run until June 23, according to a press release from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education – the government department overseeing the biometric card issuance activity.

Currently, the enrollment team is registering potential card holders at a venue in the capital Yaounde for the Centre region, just over a week after it carried out a similar exercise in the cities of Nkongsamba and Douala in the Littoral region. The teams will move to all the regional capitals, per a schedule drawn by the Ministry. There were more than 1,000 enrollments in the Littoral, Ministry officials confirmed.

Armand Pierre Atangana, Coordinator of the National Youth Observatory, the technical body helping the Ministry enroll youth for the ID project, said requirements for the enrollment include a stamped hand written application addressed to the Youth Affairs Minister, plus a certified copy of the enrollee’s biometric national ID card or birth certificate. He said their target is to deliver 50,000 cards by the end of this year.

Reiterating the importance of the biometric card, Atangana explained: “The biometric youth card is a tool designed within the framework of the special youth plan, with the aim of identifying young people and fast-tracking their economic inclusion. The card will enable them have access to many services in various sectors and at preferential costs. The holder of the card is privy to so many advantages including social and banking services. We are already in talks with potential partners and some of them, especially in the healthcare and road transport sectors, have already given their okay.”

He added: “There are three groups of beneficiaries of the project. The first is the youth themselves who are the primary beneficiaries. The second are their parents will also benefit because if their children get access to certain services either for free or at very low cost, it helps them save money in some way. And thirdly, the business or institutional partners who will be offering their services to the young people.”

Youth Affairs Minister Mounouna Foutsou had said in Parliament in November that the Cameroon biometric youth card would be operationalized in the course of this year.

Putting in place the biometric card, he said, is intended to modernize how Cameroonian youth get access to some public services.

Holders of the cards will specifically benefit from services including social security, insurance, healthcare, transportation, tourism, employment and vocational training and special skills acquisition, either at subsidized costs or totally free of charge, Atangana explained.

The services, he went on, will be directly provided by government or by third party institutions.
It appears that the next phase of the project will involve the biometric capture of registrants, but that will come after the first phase enrollment team would have gone through the entire country.

In December last year, the government concluded a deal with the United Bank for Africa (UBA) for mass production and distribution of the biometric cards to youth across the country. Some of the cards already produced are also being distributed by the enrollment team, the Youth Affairs Minister said in the recent release announcing the enrollment campaign.

Apart from this, UBA will also help find potential partners, ensure the maintenance of production equipment, as well as train some youth ministry staff on the use and management of the cards.

Officials say holders of the card can use it within the country and beyond, especially for banking and payment purposes.

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