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Thales, Idemia, Veridos reportedly jostle for mega biometric ID card contract in DR Congo

Thales, Idemia, Veridos reportedly jostle for mega biometric ID card contract in DR Congo

Some big names in the biometrics and digital ID space such as French giants Idemia and Thales and Germany’s Veridos are said to be among those in the running for a mouth-watering contract to produce new generation national ID cards in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

According to Africa Intelligence, talks of the new ID card contract in Africa’s fourth most populous country are resuming after the project was put on hold in 2020 over funding constraints.

Per the publication, the re-launched biometric ID card project is estimated at 400 million Euros (US$428 million) and will run for between six and eight years through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative.

A public-private partnership agreement was signed with Pangea late last year for $70 million to provide an automated biometric identification system for law enforcement and background checks. Dermalog won a $48 million contract to produce biometric passports for the DRC a month later.

Funding for the ID card project was reportedly supposed to be provided by the World Bank, in at least two installments, but the plan fell through, according to Africa Intelligence. These details cannot be corroborated at this time.

The move to select a company for the contract follows the adoption early last year of a draft decree setting up a new national ID card scheme under the auspices of the National Identification and Population Board (ONIP).

Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion of the international ID Day in 2021, ONIP director general Richard Ilunga underscored the importance of legal ID, and gave assurances that the government was taking steps to ensure new ID cards are delivered to citizens before May 2023.

“At the moment, almost 100 million citizens do not have an ID card. It is the responsibility of ONIP to set up a population registry and to oversee the issuance of IDs. That’s why it’s important to sensitize everyone on the importance of having the national ID card,” Ilunga said at the time as quoted by Actualité.cd.

DR Congo’s national population and national ID registry was initially planned to be set up by 2020.

This post was updated at 4:11pm Eastern on February 28, 2023 to reflect that World Bank can not corroborate some of the details reported.

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