Ghana’s National Identity Card, the Ghana Card can now be used as an e-passport in 44,000 airports globally.
It follows the recognition of the Ghana Card globally as an electronic passport that can be read and verified in all International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) compliant borders.
At a ceremony, held at the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal in Canada on Wednesday [February 9, 2022], Ghana was officially presented with the certificate to make the Ghana Card an e-passport to be accepted at 44,000 airports across the globe.
Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada, Ransford Sowah, received the ‘key’ to symbolically indicate Ghana’s entry into the ICAO family.
This means the Ghana Card, which is a unique biometric identification card, will be accepted as an e-passport in 197 borders globally and 44,000 airports in the world.
Holders of the Ghana Card will be allowed to board any flight to Ghana by just showing the card.
Ghana was officially accepted on October 13, 2021, as the 79th member of the ICAO’s Public Key Directory (PKD) community.
The ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD) is a central repository for exchanging the information required to authenticate e-passports.
Ghana’s delegation at the ceremony
Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada, Mr Ransford Sowah, in the company of a delegation from Ghana, including the Secretary to the Vice-President, Mr Augustine Blay; the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Prof. Ken Attafuah, and other officials from the Presidency, received the key on behalf of Ghana.
Also in the delegation were the Director-General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), Richard Okyere-Fosu; the Director of Passport, Mr Louis Kwame Obeng, and the Head of Technical Services, NITA, Mr Solomon Kofi Richardson.
With this, the Ghana Card as well as its future biometric equivalents can present it as official documentation at all 197 (ICAO) compliant countries and 44,000 airports worldwide and board flights to Ghana.
The ICAO declaration follows an earlier hint, given in November 2021 by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, that Ghanaians anywhere in the world would soon be able to travel back home using their Ghana cards.
Dr Bawumia had indicated that Ghana was expecting the certificate from ICAO by the end of the first quarter of 2022 and that, apart from acting as the major source of proof of identity, the Ghana Card will be used as an e-passport for Ghanaian citizens, all things being equal, by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
Officials of the National Identification Authority (NIA) have said with the Key Ceremony in Montreal over, the Ghana Card can now be verified internationally and border control authorities will be able to confirm in less than 10 seconds that a Ghanaian biometric e-passport (booklet) as well as the Ghana Card/e-passport were issued by the right authority, have not been altered, and are not copies or cloned documents.
A statement issued by the Authority read in part, “In practical terms, this means that it will now be faster and more effective for border control authorities to verify the identity of holders of Ghana’s passports. The Key Ceremony is the final stage of the implementation of Ghana’s e-passport project.”
In brief remark Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada, Ransford Sowah explained that the Ghana Card contains the biometric information of the holder with a cryptographic digital signature stored on a chip that can be used to authenticate the identity of travelers.
“This makes Ghana one of the few countries in the world where the national ID card also has an e-passport capability,” he added.
“For Ghanaians living or born in the diaspora, holders of the Ghana Card can be allowed to board any flight to Ghana without any visa requirement as we seek to give an inclusive Akwaaba experience to all children and descendants of our motherland.”