Automated border control system launched

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-The Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, on Wednesday launched the upgrade Electronic Border Control Management System at Hosea Kutako International Airport.
It was developed and installed by local IT company Syntex Technologies.

The system is the first of the E-Border Control Management Systems Upgrade Project that is to be installed at all border posts to make identification of immigrants and Namibians simpler and faster.

According to the minister, the world has become a global village with improved technology and transportation infrastructure and is experiencing an unprecedented inflow of persons migrating for various reasons, which is facilitated by modern transport systems.

“While benefit also accrues from the movement of persons, particularly in the area of migration and development, there are also associated challenges that need to be managed and mitigated. These include, but are not limited to, cross-border crimes, trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and terrorism,” stated the home affairs and immigration minister.

It therefore requires a shift from the traditional way of managing migration to a more risk approach practice facilitated by information and intelligence gathering.
It was for these reasons that the need to improve on Namibia’s border control infrastructure was identified, she added.

According to the home affairs minister, the new system captures the biometrics of a person such as face for facial recognition and fingerprints.

“With this modernisation we expect to improve on collection of statistics, data storage and mining and bringing flexibility in connectivity with approved stakeholders.”

As a result, the operation of law enforcement agencies can be enhanced by the new system as it will help identify people even if they change their names because fingerprints will never change.

“The conclusion of this project surely will have significant improvement in the field of managing and facilitating lawful migration, and will contribute to the furtherance of the turnaround strategy the ministry has implemented just a few years ago,” Iivula-Ithana stated.

According to her, the road to success was not a smooth one as it coincided with the economic crunch Namibia has experienced since the last financial year to date, which resulted in a slowdown in the availability of funds with some targets not met on time.She said the commitment and patriotism showed by the company that implemented the project ensured the completion of the project on time.

She confirmed that Hosea Kutako International Airport switched over to the new project as from September 1 with the rest of the border posts to follow suit in the near future.

Iivula-Ithana concluded by emphasising the fact that a system can only be as good and effective as its user and that its efficiency and success lie in the hands of the users, who are the immigration officers and other law enforcement agencies assigned to the attainment of Vision 2030, the National Development Plans and the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).

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