New ID can double as travel document

19 November 2021 | Ministries

The new-look, machine-readable ID card unveiled yesterday will be phased in, and current IDs will continue to be in use.

Windhoek [email protected]

The new Namibian ID that has been launched can double as a travel document to neighbouring countries.

Home affairs minister Albert Kawana introduced the new features of the new-look national identity document for Namibians, permanent residence holders and refugees when it was officially launched by President Hage Geingob.

Kawana said the new ID will have the following features: the fingerprint system will be replaced by a Quick Response Code (“QRC”), and the barcode will be replaced by a machine-readable zone (“MRZ”).

“The new-look ID will be more secure, as the QRC and MRZ will contain elements that will be read by a machine and are not easy to forge.”

He said with these new features, they can also engage neighbouring countries to consider using these ID cards as travel documents.

According to him the ID cards are compatible with the specifications of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

“The world is moving towards electronic innovation. I am happy to say that Africa is also moving with the world.”

Kawana said a number of African countries have already adopted the new-look IDs, such as: Botswana, South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mauritius, Zambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Niger, and Sierra Leone.

Enabling E-governance

“The inclusion of the new features in the IDs has no additional financial implications. The additional features will be printed by the ministry right here in Windhoek. The printing of our new-look ID cards does not involve the use of ink, instead, laser engraving will be used.”

He further said that the current IDs will continue to be in use because the migration to the new IDs will be done in phases.

“Those applying for duplicates and new IDs will be issued with the new-look IDs. New ID applications will be issued without charge, meaning they will be free. However, duplicates will be charged for in order to encourage our citizens to take care of their ID cards.”

Kawana said the advantage of the new-look ID is that it can be linked to e-governance.

He said this is a welcome development because e-governance has featured prominently in the country’s goals, with the objective to support and simplify the administration, service delivery and government interaction with individuals and businesses, as well as within government itself through the use of information and communication technology.

“There is, therefore, a need to strengthen Home Affairs systems, especially the Population Register, in order to enable both public and private sectors to verify identity documents on the Population Register.”

Kawana said the benefits will have a ripple effect for other industries, financial crimes will be reduced, social grants will be issued only to those who are verified to be alive, ghost employees will be a thing of the past, banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions will operate with ease because financial fraud will be minimised.

“The biometric system will replace the outdated fingerprint system which requires paper and ink, another unnecessary cost.”

He further said that Home Affairs still has many uncollected IDs.

Kawana appealed to those who have not yet collected their IDs to collect them.


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