A consortium between Portugal’s Casa de Moeda – Mint (INCM) and the German company Augentic GmbH signed a €200 million contract with the Republic of Cameroon to implement biometric passports, it announced on Monday.
“This achievement by the Portuguese public company, a benchmark in the supply of top-of-the-range and high-security identity solutions, reinforces its positioning in the modernisation of the public sector in other geographies, pursuing its most recent strategy of exporting national expertise, in which it has a relevant presence in more than 10 countries on four continents,” INCM said in a statement.
The 10-year contract to implement the e-passport programme in the Republic of Cameroon “will cover the entire process of issuing travel documents, thus ensuring the highest levels of security, privacy and convenience to its citizens”, it said.
“In addition,” it added, “comprehensive technology transfer and capacity building is also envisaged in Cameroon, supported by INCM’s proven experience in other e-government implementations.
The contract was signed on 17 September in Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital, between the Delegate General for National Security, Martin Mbarga Nguele, and Augentic’s CEO, Labinot Carreti, representing the consortium with INCM.
Cited in the statement, Gonçalo Caseiro, chairman of the board of directors of INCM, stressed that this contract represents “a relevant step in the export of cutting-edge goods and technology, corresponding in itself to an increase of 5% in the annual sales volume” of the institution.
Something which, he maintains, “is only possible by combining two factors which have been fundamental in the history” of INCM: “The permanent modernisation of the company and its infrastructure and human resources”.
“Portugal was a pioneer in this product when, in 2006, it was one of the first countries in the world to implement the biometric passport, one of the most emblematic measures [of the programme] Simplex of that time. Today we dominate the value chain, largely due to our approach to academia in Portugal, which allows us to work with the most renowned researchers in the country and our world top engineering. Putting this arsenal at the service of other countries, such as the Republic of Cameroon, is not only a matter of pride but also a mission of this institution”, Gonçalo Caseiro said.
According to INCM, the project includes three phases, fully financed by the INCM-Augentic partnership in the ‘build, operate & transfer’ concession model.
“In the first phase, the entire infrastructure for issuing the new passports will be created, with a registration and personalisation centre and a state-of-the-art data centre in Yaoundé, a modern citizens’ registration centre in Douala, the renovation or construction of eight other regional centres and various posts in the main embassies and consulates around the world”, he adds.
Also included at this stage are the configuration of state-of-the-art systems and training for operators and engineers in the country.
The next phase will create new high-tech jobs and establish an optimised logistics system to allow the issuance of biometric passports in the country in less than 48 hours.
The issuing system will also allow immediate reports and statistics to be made available to the Cameroon Public Security Bureau, and at the end of the contract, it will include the transfer of the entire solution to the national authorities.
The INCM is based in Lisbon, with two production centres, and employs over 700 workers.