Ghana Card: Your Passport to Global Travel
The Ghana Card has just achieved a remarkable milestone, transforming into an e-passport that can be used in a staggering 44,000 airports worldwide. This recognition comes as a result of the Ghana Card’s classification as an electronic passport by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In a prestigious ceremony held at the ICAO headquarters in Montreal, Canada on February 9, 2022, Ghana was presented with the certificate validating the Ghana Card’s status as an e-passport, paving the way for its acceptance in airports across the globe.
During the ceremony, Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada, Ransford Sowah, received a symbolic “key,” representing Ghana’s official entry into the ICAO family. This key signifies that the Ghana Card, a unique biometric identification card, will now be recognized as an e-passport in 197 compliant borders and an astounding 44,000 airports worldwide.
With this groundbreaking development, holders of the Ghana Card can now effortlessly board any flight to Ghana by simply presenting their card. This signifies a significant convenience for Ghanaians worldwide, as their Ghana Cards will serve as official documentation in all ICAO-compliant countries and airports, facilitating smooth travel experiences.
Ghana’s Membership in the ICAO Community
Ghana’s acceptance into the ICAO community was officially announced on October 13, 2021, making it the 79th member of the ICAO’s Public Key Directory (PKD) community. The PKD serves as a central repository for the exchange of necessary information to authenticate e-passports.
The Ghanaian Delegation
The Ghanaian delegation attending the Montreal ceremony, led by High Commissioner Ransford Sowah, included esteemed individuals such as the Secretary to the Vice-President, Mr. Augustine Blay, the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Prof. Ken Attafuah, as well as officials from the Presidency. The delegation also comprised significant figures like the Director-General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), Richard Okyere-Fosu, the Director of Passport, Mr. Louis Kwame Obeng, and the Head of Technical Services at NITA, Mr. Solomon Kofi Richardson.
ICAO’s Announcement and Dr. Bawumia’s Remark
The ICAO declaration aligns with a previous hint given in November 2021 by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, stating that Ghanaians worldwide would soon be able to travel to their home country using their Ghana Cards. Dr. Bawumia had expressed his expectation of receiving the ICAO certificate by the end of the first quarter of 2022. He emphasized that, in addition to serving as a primary form of identification, the Ghana Card would function as an e-passport for Ghanaian citizens, pending the successful completion of necessary procedures.
Streamlining Passport Verification
According to officials from the National Identification Authority (NIA), the Ghana Card can now be verified internationally following the Key Ceremony in Montreal. Border control authorities will now be able to verify the authenticity of Ghanaian biometric e-passports (booklets) and Ghana Cards/e-passports issued by the correct authority within a mere 10 seconds. This streamlined process will ensure that documents have not been tampered with or copied, instilling greater confidence in the identification process.
The Transformation of the Ghana Card
The Ghana Card, containing the biometric data of the holder and a cryptographic digital signature stored on a chip, can now be used to authenticate the identity of travelers. This remarkable feature distinguishes Ghana as one of the few countries worldwide where the national ID card possesses e-passport capabilities. Commissioner Sowah remarked proudly, “For Ghanaians living or born in the diaspora, holders of the Ghana Card can be allowed to board any flight to Ghana without any visa requirement. We seek to provide an inclusive Akwaaba experience to all children and descendants of our motherland.”
With the Ghana Card’s transformation into a globally recognized e-passport, Ghanaians can now explore the world with ease. This milestone firmly establishes Ghana’s position as a country at the forefront of secure and convenient travel. The Ghana Card’s ability to serve both as an identification card and an e-passport depicts the innovative strides Ghana is making in enhancing the travel experience for its citizens. As we foster an inclusive and welcoming environment, let us celebrate this achievement and the countless opportunities it brings for Ghanaians, regardless of their global location.