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Gabon says preps far advanced on long-awaited national digital ID card project

Gabon says preps far advanced on long-awaited national digital ID card project

Gabon’s Minister of Interior and Security, Hermann Immongault, has announced that the project to begin the issuance of national digital ID cards in the country will be underway in the next few months.

The minister gave the update after meeting early this week with the central African nation’s transitional leader, Gen. Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, at the presidential palace. The president directed that all preparations be finalized as soon as possible and for steps to be taken to ensure that civil status registration documents are issued to Gabonese free of charge.

Gabonese have been in dire straits for more than a decade as the country has not issued national ID cards since 2013.

Over these years, several government initiatives to get the process restarted have fallen through for different reasons. There were reports last year that the ID production contract had been awarded to French identity solutions company Thales, but not much else has been heard since.

Now, the transitional government of the highly-forested country of 2.5 million people believes it is time to get serious with the legal identity project.

A video recording posted to LinkedIn by Gabon’s presidency after the meeting shows Immongault explaining that there has been significant progress in the advancement of the ID card project dossier. He said in the course of their discussion, all legal, technical, logistical, technological and financial aspects related to the project were reviewed.

“The project is at an advanced stage. We have met all legal requirements. Today, we have all the texts that will permit us to establish the national ID card. We have also met some logistical requirements. We have prepared 45 enrollment centers. I recently went on visits to some provinces to evaluate the level of work being done in this light. There are many other centers which are in the process of rehabilitation,” said Immongault.

He disclosed that the new ID card will be produced with the same safety and security features as the country’s biometric passport and residence permits which are reputed for their quality.

“On the technical side, our hope is to have a national digital ID card which will have a built-in chip containing useful personal information. There are some issues here which needed the attention of the head of state for some instructions.”

He said the project also envisages the deployment of fixed and mobile teams that will go to the field to meet people with limited mobility, the elderly, as well as those admitted to hospital for long periods for their on-the-spot enrollment.

“These are some of the issues we discussed with the head of state who gave us very important instructions in order that this project can take off within the earliest time possible,” the Interior minister said.

The digital ID project will be rolled out with the support of some national institutions such as the National Police Force, the National Agency for Digital Infrastructure and Frequencies (ANINF), the Iboga project (Identité Biométrique Officielle du Gabon), and the Direction Générale de La Documentation et de l’immigration (DGDI).

The announcement that the ID card project is imminent comes just weeks after Gabon and World Bank officials signed a financing agreement worth $68 million to facilitate access to legal ID and digital government services under a programmed labelled “Digital Gabon.”

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