Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed that Ghana's unique biometric identification card, the Ghanacard, will soon become an electronic passport for all Ghanaians.
Delivering a public lecture at the Ashesi University on the role digitization is playing in transforming the Ghanaian economy, Dr. Bawumia spoke extensively on the crucial roles the Ghanacard is playing as catalyst for the digitization drive.
The newest function of the Ghanacard, the Vice President revealed, will be used as an e-passport for Ghanaian citizens travelling outside the country.
"It is not widely known that the Ghanacard is also an electronic passport (e-passport) that contains the biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of travelers," Dr. Bawumia said.
He continued, "We have been working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) this year to globally activate the e-passport function of the Ghana card and I am happy to announce that on 13th October 2021, Ghana officially became the 79th member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Public Key Directory (PKD) community. The ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD) is a central repository for exchanging the information required to authenticate e-passports."
Throwing more light on the e-passport function, Dr. Bawumia said 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.
Dr. Bawumia added that a ceremony would be held in Montreal, Canada in the first quarter of 2022 to enable what is known as a Country Signing Certificate Authority to be imported into the ICAO PKD System.
"This means that the Ghanacard wi 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," he stressed.
The Vice President also revealed that the Ghanacard, which is already valid for travel to all ECOWAS countries, is being linked with existing passports so that travel history will be preserved.
The world class features of the Ghanacard has been acknowledged by international experts, and Dr. Bawumia expressed delight that national ID project was "executed by the NIA in collaboration with a world class Ghanaian private sector firm, (IMS)."