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Cameroon biometric visa portal down, Burkina Faso launches own platform

Cameroon biometric visa portal down, Burkina Faso launches own platform

Cameroon’s Ministry of External Relations announced recently that the country’s digital visa portal has been inaccessible in some countries, frustrating travellers seeking to make trips to the central African country.

In an announcement, the Minister Delegate in charge of Cooperation with the Commonwealth, Felix Mbayu, regretted the incident, saying measures are being taken to quickly get things back to normal. He also apologized for the inconveniences the development has caused visa applicants.

In the meantime, he said an alternative portal had been created to serve applicants in those countries where the original platform doesn’t work.

The countries affected by the shutdown of the portal were not disclosed, and the specific reason for the portal’s downtime has not been mentioned. Mbayu only referred to technical issues, but some users suspect a possible cyberattack.

Similar services on a digital government portal in Kenya were disruption recently due to a reported cyberattack.

Cameroon’s biometric visa portal became operational in May, but many users reported hassles with using the platform just weeks after it was launched. Officials said at the time that there was no cause for alarm.

Burkina Faso digital visa platform operational

Meanwhile, Burkina Faso launched its own digital visa application portal this month, becoming the third African country to do so this year after Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, tech publication We Are Tech Africa reports. Equatorial Guinea launched its digital visa system on July 1.

Per the outlet, Burkina Faso’s platform was launched on August 17 in the capital Ouagadougou in a ceremony presided at by the Minister Delegate in charge of Security, Mahamadou Sona, accompanied by other members of the military-led government in the West African country.

At a press conference after the launch of the platform tagged “eVisaburkina,” Minister for Digital Transformation, Posts and Digital Communications Aminata Zerbo-Sabané said the move is a giant step by the government in its efforts to digitize of government services.

“This platform is part of the government’s drive to put digital technology at the heart of our administration. In addition to being able to manage these flows, we will have reliable data and reliable statistics in this important area,” Zerbo-Sabané said.

Officials have expressed optimism that the new visa system will help the government fight criminality, better monitor immigration trends and also optimise revenue collection from the streamlined visa issuance process.

The visa fees range from $55 to $174.

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