The government of Botswana has awarded a contract to Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) for the manufacture and delivery of 150,000 electronic passports (e-passports).
G&D will also supply the data acquisition and personalization systems for the travel documents, drawing on its successful implementation of several past projects with similar scope across the globe, for instance in Macedonia. In addition, the Munich-based technology company will be delivering Botswana's border control system with card readers. The contract was signed today in Gaborone, the country's capital. It will take two years to implement the system, with passports scheduled for issue to the citizens of Botswana from 2010. The contract is worth roughly 15 million euros.
Botswana is the first Southern African country to introduce the electronic passport. "We are proud that the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs has entrusted us with this demanding project," comments Hans Wolfgang Kunz, Head of G&D's Government Solutions business unit. "The new electronic passport will fulfill the extensive ICAO and EU specifications and achieve international recognition and validity. In conjunction with an efficient border control system, it will ensure Botswana is well prepared to meet the increasing security requirements of international travel."
As prime contractor, G&D will handle all system integration activities. The new passport system will be among the fastest of its kind anywhere in the world. At selected public offices equipped to personalize the documents, passports can even be issued immediately in particularly urgent cases. The entire process, from data registration to complete optical and digital personalization, will take no more than twenty minutes.
Besides personal information, the data page of the ID document also features a color photograph for simple visual checking. To achieve maximum security against forgery and prevent misuse of identity, the new e-passport also contains the holder's details and photograph in digital form, stored on a chip. The electronic reading systems at border control points then compare the data to verify whether the person presenting the document and wishing to enter or leave the country is indeed the passport's rightful owner.
The data will be acquired and processed at twenty local registration points and other mobile stations all over the country. This allows citizens to apply for a new passport quickly and conveniently without having to travel long distances, for example to the nation's capital.