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Zimbabwe in major e-passport milestone

by Staff reporter
18 Sep 2022 at 15:57hrs | Views
Zimbabwe recently became one of the few countries in the world that are producing machine-readable electronic passports (e-passports) after it became the 84th member to join and participate in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Public Key Directory (PKD), which makes the new local travel documents able to be read at border entry points around the world.

Following the launch of e-passports by President Mnangagwa on December 14 last year, the country started issuing electronic passports (e-passports) on January 18 this year.

Registrar-General Henry Machiri, who was recently in Canada for the annual Symposium of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), hand-delivered to the organisation the digital Public Key Certificate for entry into the UN-ICAO system, and the Zimbabwe passport passed the test.

In essence, ICAO PKD is a database established and maintained for the purposes of holding national cryptographic keys related to the authentication of electronic passport information.

Participation in the ICAO PKD will see the uploading of the public key data necessary for authentication of all electronic passports that are issued by a State.

"I am pleased to inform the nation that the Zimbabwe e-passport is ICAO compliant, and Zimbabwe, on September 14, 2022, became the 84th member of the United Nations to be admitted to the ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD)," said RG Machiri.

An e-passport is an electronic Machine-Readable Travel Document (eMRTD) with an integrated circuit chip and encrypted data that stores the biographical information of the passport holder.

"One of the key benefits of the ICAO PKD is that it supports processes of reading and verifying travel documents in an efficient and cost-effective manner," read a statement issued after the recent feat.

"This provide border control authorities with assurance that travel documents are genuine and unaltered, which in turn authenticates the biometric information contained in e-passports and allows for automation of aspects of the border clearance process."

Overall, it is believed that the ICAO PKD platform contributes to improved border security, combatting terrorism and crime, and promoting secure air travel globally.

The Civil Registry Department has been the implementing agency in the project to join the platform.

The new development comes at a time when Zimbabwe has upped its campaign for a seat on the prestigious ICAO Council.

Source - The Sunday Mail