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Botswana pens biometric passport deal with SADC

The SADC Secretariat has inked a deal with Botswana for the production of biometric travel documents for its officials.

The development comes five years after the bloc’s council of ministers directed the Secretariat to migrate to machine-readable documents, to combat identity fraud and strengthen both national and international confidence in SADC travel documents.

Botswana’s Labour and Home Affairs Minister Anna Mokgethi said the deal will enable the SADC Secretariat to utilise Botswana’s technology facilities to print SADC biometric laissezpasser travel document.

The development is in line with a directive by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the Minister added. “I can assure you that my ministry has the capacity and technology to print the travel document as requested by SADC.”

Botswana’s citizens have been using e-passports since 2010, and according to the government, the new SADC electronic passport will include additional visual and electronic security features.

SADC Executive Secretary, Elias Magosi said the laissezpasser travel document will enable “seamless travel of SADC authorities within the continent and globally” and advance the regional bloc’s integration and global outreach.

Magosi added that the document issued under provisions of both the SADC treaty and its protocol on immunities and privileges will enable the Secretariat to effectively discharge its duties.

“These diplomatic immunities privileges and facilities are also accorded in line with the host agreements between SADC and respective member states that host the SADC Secretariat and SADC institutions or subsidiary organisations,” said Magosi.

Holders of the SADC laissezpasser passport would have visa-free-entry into- and out of territories of all member states, according to Magosi, who added that the new document would also eliminate the need for the Secretariat to renew the passports of its nationals.

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