Ghana Card to become global e-passport by 2022 – Bawumia
Ghanaian travellers would no longer be required to carry hard copies of their passports to move around the globe as the Ghana card could serve the same purpose by 2022.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has pointed out that “the Ghanacard is also an electronic passport (e-passport) that contains the biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of travellers”.
The government is working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to activate the e-passport function of the Ghanacard globally.
Ghana officially became the 79th member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Public Key Directory (PKD) community on 13 October 2021.
The ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD) is a central repository for exchanging the information required to authenticate e-passports.
The PKD allows border control authorities to confirm in less than ten seconds that the e-passport was issued by the right authority, has not been altered, and is not a copy or cloned document.
Ghana’s Country Signing Certificate Authority is expected to be imported into the ICAO PKD System through a Key ceremony.
Hopefully, the Key Ceremony for Ghana will be held at the ICAO headquarters in Montreal, Canada, by the 1st quarter of 2022.
Dr Bawumia made this known during a public nature at Ashesi University in the Eastern Region on Tuesday, 2 November 2021.
He was speaking on the theme: Transforming An Economy Through Digitalization- The Ghana Story.
“This means that the Ghanacard will be recognized as an e-passport and can be read and verified in all ICAO compliant borders (in 197 countries and 44,000 airports in the world).
“When this happens, holders of the Ghanacard will be allowed to board any flight to Ghana. Furthermore, the good news for diasporan Ghanaians is that when the Ghana Immigration Service is linked to the NIA architecture. diasporan Ghanaians who hold the Ghanacard should not have to obtain visas to travel to Ghana,” Dr Bawumia explained.
This is expected to be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
Ghana will join a few countries in the world where the national ID card is also an e-passport.
To enhance the processes, the Ghanacard is also being linked with existing passports so that travel history will be preserved.
The Ghanacard is valid for travel to all ECOWAS countries presently.
So far, 15.5 million people have been enrolled on the Ghanacard by the National Identification Authority (NIA) and most of the population are expected to be enrolled by 2022.
NIA is planning to open an additional 291 offices across all districts and regions to complete the exercise.
The issuance of the Ghanacard has provided Ghana with a database that will be the anchor for all transactions in the future, providing a unique identity to all individuals.
Touting other benefits of the Ghanacard, Dr Bawumia noted that the identity of Ghanaians could be verified using their fingerprints.
Identity can be established even without the Ghanacard as long as you have been enrolled on the database.
“In addition, individuals are empowered to exercise their rights and responsibilities fairly and equitably in modern society.
“Digital inclusion provides access to government services. Institutions like DVLA, Police, Banks, NHIA, Passport office, GRA, SSNIT, and telecom companies will be able to verify the identity of anyone they are doing business with. It will make the targeting of government programs to the vulnerable and disadvantaged more effective,” he stressed.