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e-passports will be introduced by 2020 in the East African Community (EAC)

By January 2020, East African Community e-passports will replace the old national document. It’s an attempt to facilitate trade between the five EAC member countries: Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

E-passports characteristics

Following the same steps as Kenya, Tanzania will introduce the electronic passport to its citizens in 2020. The new travel document will charge Tsh150,000 for a 10 years-validation.

The e-passport involves an electronic chip containing the same information as the national document one, a biometric code, digital photographs and security features. Its security system is very strong that it will be nearly impossible to falsify it. The Commissioner General of the Immigration Department, Dr. Anna Makakala affirmed that “It will thus not be easy to make a copy of it. It will remain genuine and will also last long and contain much more pages than the previous ones.”

President John Magufuli also supports the idea of changing the old passports by e-passports, as according to him it will bring potential solutions to immigration problems in the country, he claimed “I’m pleased with the changes. This is a job well done by the Immigration Department. You have my support.”

Among the aspects of the digital passport, is that it will contain more pages in case an immigrant lost his passport, he will immediately get help from Tanzanian embassies, the Immigration websites, or consulates.

“The applicant will need to go to the Immigration website on the passport services, fill in forms and will be provided with a control number, after paying an initial fee of around 20,000. Thereafter, after getting printouts, one would pop into immigration offices for subsequent procedures.” Said Dr. Magufuli.

E-passports in the African continent

East African countries will shift to using electronic passports. The decision was taken by the member countries during a Summit held in Arusha, Tanzania. The development will allow these countries to be more open to each other and will simplify trade and business transactions among them.

“That is a very welcome development since it will further ease intra EAC travels. From our perspectives, that is great for sub-regional air travel business,” said John Mirenge, the chief executive officer of RwandAir.

The African Union (AU) is also making attempts to bring African countries closer to each other and to set a deeper continental integration. It introduced a common passport with visa-free access to the 54 members of the Union. They are also vouching for an E-passports which have been already given to heads of state and senior officials. By the year of 2020, the union will give them away to all African citizens.

“The opening ceremony was marked by a symbolic act of Pan-Africanism with the launch of the African Union passport aimed at facilitating the free movement of people on the continent.” The Union affirmed in a statement.

Source: Afrika News

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