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FACT CHECK: Is the Ghanaian passport equivalent to an e-passport?

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The social media has been awash with information that the Ghanaian national identification card commonly known as the ‘Ghana Card’, has been endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a valid e-passport.

The information which added that holders of the Ghana Card will now be able to travel across about 197 borders and 44,000 airports throughout the world, gained traction owing to the fact that it was also corroborated by the official twitter handle of the Ghanaian presidency – @GhanaPresidency.

“I am happy to report that following a ‘Key Ceremony’ at the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (@icao) in Montreal Canada, Ghana’s National Identity Card (the #GhanaCard) will now be duly recognized globally as a valid e-passport/ID card,” the tweet by the presidency read.

HOW TRUE IS THIS CLAIM?

Last week, ICAO organized a ceremony to welcome Ghana into the ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD), which is a central repository needed to verify and authenticate biographic and biometric information on international travel documents such as digital passports, electronic ID cards and visible digital seals.

The ceremony that took place at the ICAO headquarters in Montreal, Canada, was subsequently interpreted to mean that the Ghana Card had been approved as a travel document equivalent to a biometric passport.

However, the ICAO has now clarified that although the ceremony which took place on 9th February was a major milestone in Ghana’s efforts to provide for more international acceptance of its electronic travel documents, media reports claiming that the Ghana Card is equivalent to an e-passport were incorrect.

“It is not the ICAO’s role to certify the use of a State’s Identity Card for international travel in place of a passport. It is the sovereign right if each individual State to decide upon its entry and exist requirements and the documents that need to be presented by those travelling to and/or from its territory.

“A number of States worldwide accept specified national ID cards as identity documents during air travel based on bilateral agreement between issuing and receiving states. Any decision to accept such alternative travel identity documents is made by the receiving State itself,” the ICAO has stated.

VERDICT

The claim that the Ghana Card has been endorsed by the ICAO to serve as an e-passport is false, misleading, and should be disregarded by the public.

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