Angola invests in smart IDs

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 03 Sept 2008

Unisys has been awarded a three-year subcontract, valued at about $22 million, to help develop and provide a citizen ID card programme for the Angolan Ministry of Justice's Civil and Criminal Identification and Archiving Department.

The deal includes ongoing support from SA-based Unisys Africa.

The contract was awarded by DGM-Sistemas Lda, an Angola-based IT company that recently deployed a similar electronic ID framework for the Angolan Social Security Ministry - also with Unisys.

Angola hopes to provide 20 million ID cards to its citizens by 2015, to reduce fraud and modernise the ministry's criminal registry.

Luanda currently has biographic information on only three million citizens, the result of a civil war that started in 1960 and only ended in 2002, with the death of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.

As one of DGM's key partners, Unisys will provide a secure biometric ID card with automated fingerprint identification capabilities.

Unisys will also modernise the department's existing criminal justice registry system, using Microsoft's .NET and CRM frameworks.

Unisys will create a centralised citizen registry, capable of recording demographic details, digital photographs, digital signatures and fingerprint scans captured at fixed and mobile stations.

The new solution will be based on the Unisys Registry and Positive Identification Solutions framework, which captures biographic and biometric data in real-time, allowing for immediate checks on a person's identity.

Unisys will also be responsible for creating the solution that will configure and manage the servers, workstations, networking and security in the ministry's central data centre and disaster recovery site.

Hanis experience

Unisys has an established working relationship with DGM, having worked collaboratively on a similar electronic ID framework for the Angolan Social Security Ministry, awarded in 2006.

In SA, Unisys is part of a consortium that implemented the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (Afis) component of the Home Affairs National Identification System (Hanis), just shy of a decade ago.

The consortium last year received a R130 million contract to "refresh" the technology underlying Hanis.

Home affairs director-general Mavuso Msimang recently said his department and the State IT Agency were still adjudicating bids for the local smart card tender, which forms the much-delayed other leg of Hanis.

When issued in 1995, the Hanis request for tenders provided for a smart ID card to replace the current green ID booklet and Afis. Only Afis was awarded - in 1999 - and the digitisation, as well as migration, of the home affairs fingerprint and photograph archives was only completed last year.

A number of other African countries are also running smart ID card projects.

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