Uganda hires Dutch firm for digital security at Entebbe Airport
Gemalto, a Netherlands-based digital security company providing software applications and hardware has been awarded a contract to provide the tools needed to reinforce the security system at Entebbe International Airport.
According to the contract, Gemalto will supply a Border Management System (BMS) including airport self-service eKiosks in order to create “a faster and more convenient border-crossing experience for travelers and strengthening homeland security.”
According to the firm, the said e-Immigration solution uses state-of-the-art fingerprint and facial recognition technology, combined with a passport scan to ensure swift and accurate identification of passengers leaving the country.
“It is built on the Gemalto Visa Management System (VMS) that was first deployed in 2014 by the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC), part of Uganda’s Ministry of Internal Affairs,” reads an official statement.
The development comes after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced late 2018 that it embarked on a Shs4.7 billion project to upgrade the security search park at Entebbe International Airport to ease the screening of people entering and leaving the airport.
The project is expected to be completed in May this year.
David Kakuba, the Managing Director Civil Aviation Authority, then, told media that the changes would improve the safety and security of travelers and their property.
Vianney Luggya, the CAA Public Affairs Manager, revealed that they had also extended the search park about a kilometer away from the airport gate.
The extended park will be 450m wide so as to manage the congestion since the number of travelers to and from the country increased to 1.62 million people in 2017 from 1.1 million people in 2016.
The security park will also provide enough shelter for travelers.
Entebbe International Airport, servicing Uganda’s capital, Kampala, welcomed over 1.5 million travelers in 2017, according to reports.
The new eKiosks brought by Gemalto will further boost its capacity to handle the growing number of business and leisure visitors heading to Uganda, a progressive east African state with a population of over 40 million.
Once implementation of the e-Immigration solution is complete in 2019, according to an official statement, passengers will enjoy the option of a rapid, self-guided pathway through border control, whilst authorities are provided with comprehensive, real-time data on departures from Uganda.
Extending the benefits of Gemalto’s existing VMS
Gemalto is an established technology partner for DCIC. The existing VMS combines applications, processing and issuance for all pre-paid visas and permits, and incorporates a secure and convenient online portal, and biometric enrolment facilities in foreign missions and on arrival in the country.
In December 2017, the VMS won the Uganda Government’s JLOS ICT Innovation Award.
Gemalto is a proven and valued partner of DCIC,” said General Jeje A. Odongo, Minister of Internal Affairs for the Ugandan Government. “The new ABC – Automated Border Control Solution (bit.ly/2PmxGdK) marks the latest step forward in the modernization, enhancement of security of border control management in Uganda, delivering important benefits for visitors and citizens alike.”
“Rapid growth in international air travel is going hand in hand with profound cross-border threats such as terrorism, illegal immigration and organized crime,”said Thierry Mesnard, VP Sales Africa for Gemalto. “With the introduction of advanced automated kiosks at Entebbe Airport, the Ugandan authorities are once again demonstrating their commitment to addressing all these challenges.”
Gemalto secured the deal alongside SCINTL, a Ugandan firm.
“SCINTL will provide vital local support and know-how for a solution that encompasses supply, installation and maintenance,” said Cephas T. Bushuyu, Managing Director for SCINTL. “Overseas visitors are playing a key role in Uganda’s economic development, and many will now enjoy the option of a safe, fast-track border crossing experience.”