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Ghana Card: Manufacturers explain unique e-passport features 

Margins ID Group, the Ghanaian company which manufactured the Ghana Card has explained in detail all the e-passport features on the Ghana Card, following its recognition by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). 

At a recent stakeholders forum in Accra, which included the media, the Chief Executive of Margins, Moses Baiden, explained that the Ghana Card contains three secure identity profiles on it, and one of them is the electronic passport (e-passport) which meets the highest international standards, following the certification by ICAO over a year ago.

Mr Baiden further explained that the e-passport on the Ghana Card contains all the key information printed on the biodata page of a paper passport, such as the holder’s name, date of birth and other bio information.

The Ghana Card has a unique electronic chip, which the Margins CEO said, contains a collection of read-only files, with sophisticated cryptographic mechanisms that protect the security of the document, as well as the privacy of the passport holder.

“The biographic and biometric data contained in the electronic chip on the Ghana Card can therefore be compared to both the traveller and the travel document (paper passport) being presented respectively. There are multiple layers of security in the e-passport that prevent duplication,” he explained.

“The e-passport on the Ghana Card meets the highest ICAO international standards at par with the most advanced countries.”

He explained further that the Ghana Card has three profiles on the chip that can be used to interface with any international application.

“The three are ICAO Document 9303 Passport Profile, which means it is a machine readable travel document; an electronic ID (e-ID) Profile and a Match On Card (MOC) Profile, which facilitates secure connection to digital platforms and enables authenticated users to complete e-government or e-commerce transactions.”

The Margins CEO explained that even mobile devices do have e-ID’s that offer convenience, security and efficiency, but that may not be sufficient in all contexts, and that is where the Ghana Card comes in handy, because it takes into account some specific needs such as technological capabilities, legal requirements and trust factors associated with specific situations.

The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, first revealed in November 2021 that the Ghana Card had been prepared as a travel document and would be certified by ICAO as such.

However, his claim was rejected as not being possible, but after a few weeks of public debate, the body in charge of certifying what could be used for international travels, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) certified the Ghanacard as meeting the standards, at a ceremony at ICAO’s headquarters.

Following the certification by ICAO, holders of the Ghana Card are kow able to use the card as an alternative passport, to travel to Ghana from any international airport worldwide, and indeed a number of Ghanaians have used the Ghana Card to travel from abroad to Ghana, and also from Ghana to West African countries, where entry visas are not required.

For Ghanaians travelling from Ghana to other countries (outside West Africa) to be able to use the Ghana Card instead of their hardcopy passports, Ghana’s government will have to reach bilateral agreements with such countries for the issuance of electronic visas, instead of visas issued on a normal passport.

Significance of the Ghana Card

The Margins CEO said the Ghana Card is now an important card for every citizen to possess because with the card, Ghanaians now own their own data.

“Agencies and organizations only have access to the information they are authorized to access by law for the execution of their duties.

“Registration from birth means no more falsification of age, clean voters register and accurate population census among other things. No more football age, ghost names on government payroll and fake names on voters’ register.”

The CEO was hopeful that the Ghana Card also has the potential to transform Ghana into a digitally advanced nation and the most digitally advanced economy in the world, as it is the bedrock of Ghana’s digitalization drive.

It is mandatory now for every Ghanaian to present the Ghana Card in order to get a passport, driver’s license, and insurance policy and other services such as land registration, SIM Card registration, payment of taxes, SSNIT, banking, land registration, pension and other services.

Authenticity of Ghana Card

With every person’s biometric data captured on the Ghana Card, it has been described as a real source of unique identification and truth, as it is impossible to have double biometric data.

“This is the foundation for securely verifying people remotely and physically in real time,” he said.

“There is no way one person can have two genuine Ghana Cards and there is no way anyone can beat the verification system with a fake Ghana Card unless that person uses the card at places where verification is not required.”

So far, over 17.46 million Ghanaians have registered for the Ghana Card as at August this year.

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