Ghana Card Has The Potential To Be Used As E-Passport – Foreign Affairs Minister
Shiriley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has stated that the Ghana Card has the potential to be used as an e-passport.
According to her, at the moment, the Ghana Card cannot be used for travel to other countries either within or outside of ECOWAS, as that would require bilateral agreements with those countries for their authorities to accept the card as a travel document.
“The ministry is in active discussion with ECOWAS member states and our bilateral partners to achieve this,” she told Parliament yesterday, while answering questions on the floor of the House.
The minister, however, indicated that in light of the announcement by the Ghana Immigration Service titled: “Notice to the Public: Use of Ghana Card as a Travel Document”, dated February 24, 2022, Ghanaians and dual nationality holders of the Ghana Card would be able to travel to Ghana using the Ghana Card.
“We belong to ECOWAS which is a bloc. All the 15 countries within ECOWAS are mandated to issue national identity cards which will double as ECOWAS cards.
“Once all the countries do what Ghana has done, which is to put in place a national identification scheme where citizens have their identity cards, we will now be able to cross into each other’s country with our ECOWAS card, which happens to be our national identification card,” Ayorkor Botchwey said.
She explained that this is the same arrangement the EU countries have made where holders of national ID cards which states a person’s citizenship, will give one the opportunity to use it as a travel document and cross into other EU countries.
“This is the potential that the Ghana Card has. For a country to accept our national identification card, there must be some bilateral agreement, and already we have started some requests for bilateral engagement and negotiations for some key countries to accept our national identification [card].
“Especially as we speak, what we have done at ICAO where we are now part of the Public Key Directory, it means that everybody, our details are in that database,” she indicated.
The minister explained that what this means is that “if for example you travel somewhere and you lose your passport and you have to check in at an airport, you can use your national identification card to check in because what the airline will do is to put into the database and every detail of you will come up to authenticate you as a bearer of that particular card.”
“They will allow you to come through the airport into the aircraft and come back home. I am told that a few people have successfully come back to Ghana on the national identification card,” she added.
“You would recall that recently, at a ceremony held in the Headquarters of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montréal, Canada, Ghana was welcomed into the ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD), which is a central repository needed to verify and authenticate biographic and biometric information on international travel documents.
“As such, the congratulatory message sent to Ghana by ICAO following the latter’s decision to join the PKD was not to suggest in any way that the Ghana Card had become an e-passport,” she intimated.
The minister pointed out that the Ghana Card is not a replacement to the country’s current biometric passport, intimating, “The Ghana Card may serve as an optional travel document to be used in tandem with our biometric passport.”