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National ID cards launched in DRC, remain uncollected in Ghana

National ID cards launched in DRC, remain uncollected in Ghana
 

The Democratic Republic of Congo has launched its new national ID card, in an official ceremony where current president Félix Tshisekedi was presented one.

There is no mention of how much the new biometric card will cost citizens, or how much funding the scheme will need.

The announcement of the new national ID comes as the Central African nation of over 111 million is currently gathering the biometric data of voters ahead of its national elections scheduled for 2023.

According to regional publication Time News’ sources, this is the data that will be utilized to create these new identity cards.

National ID cards have not been issued in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the late 1990s when it was still called Zaire and run by dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

According to reporting by AFP NEWS, lacking official documentation is a common problem in the region, and many Congolese lack any form of official documentation.

The country floated a contract for the digital ID cards worth up to 400 million Euros (US$428 million) earlier this year, with Idemia, Thales and Veridos reportedly bidding. The winner of the contract is not known at this time.

The news comes as many of the other Sub-Saharan countries are in midst of finalizing their own national ID programs.

800K Ghana Cards sit uncollected

According to reporting by B&FT Online, 800,000 printed copies of Ghana’s new national identification cards, known as the “Ghana Card,” still remain uncollected.

The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, says that citizens should pickup up their digital ID cards from some of the 276 district offices or the 16 regional offices which are dispensing them.

The Secretary explained that since the country began work on its national identity program in 2019, 17.4 million people over the age of 15 have been registered out of the country’s population of 31 million.

Of this number, only 16.3 million people have been issued with their cards.

It is estimated that some 2.5 million are yet to be registered and issued their cards.

In addition, the professor explained that the country is set to undergo a “mop up” exercise over the next three months that will see it attempt to bring those not individually registered into the scheme.

This is set to include those in specialist medical institutions such as leper colonies such as those in Ji.

For those aged 0 to 15 years, the Authority said it is working with the Births and Deaths Registry and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to register and provide new-borns with their unique identity numbers linked to that of their parents.

But for children aged 6 to 14 years, a partnership arrangement has been made with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to begin registering and issuing them their Ghana Cards.

The news comes as Ghana is slowly making Ghana Card use mandatory for access to many public services.

There are currently hotly debated plans for the Ghana card to become the sole source of ID for the upcoming national election, with some saying that the move would put the significant numbers who still don’t have access to the card at a disadvantage.

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