In an effort to fulfill International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements, Namibia is now only issuing biometric passports, or ePassports, instead of the old machine-readable passports, according to the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration.
“There have been attempts in the past to forge our passports but the current technology makes electronic passports secure,” said the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration’s director for immigration and border control, Nehemia Nghishekwa. The biometric passport is embedded with an electronic microprocessor chip that contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder.
The enhanced security features on the new ePassport include a visible chip on the cover page, coat of arms, the heroes acre and Namibia’s famous dunes on the first page, which is laminated. Other security features are contained on the inside of the cover page, which include Namibia’s national flag, National Assembly building, the Namibian map and Welwitschia mirabilis plant as opposed to the African map that was there previously.
The director of visas, passports and permits Allison Hishekwa declined to name the manufacturer of the new passports or reveal the cost of the project due to non-disclosure agreements.
Technavio research recently found that the global ePassport market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 26 percent from 2017-2021.