DAR-ES-SALAAM-- Tanzania has officially launched a new East African e-passport making it the third country in the sub-region to issue its citizens with the document after Burundi and Kenya.
President John Magufuli became the first Tanzanian to receive the document at a ceremony Thursday when he launched the new East African e-passport at the Immigration Department headquarters in Dar-es-Salaam.
The issuance of the e-passports is part of a wider strategy by the six-nation East African Community (EAC) to enhance integration. The e-passports are set to be rolled out in other EAC countries in the coming months.
Nearly 50 African countries have issued e-passports to their citizens. They include Ghana, Gabon, Egypt, Morocco and Mauritius
The 35th EAC Council of Ministers meeting held on April 4, last year, directed partner states to begin issuing e-passport from Jan 31, 2018.
Minister for Home Affairs (Interior) Dr Mwigulu Nchemba handed over e-passports to top government officials led by President Magufuli and Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohammed Shein.
The difference between the old passport and the e-passport is that the e-passport has an embedded chip which stores the passport holder's biometric information. According to Dr Nchemba, Tanzanian passport holders will now be required to replace the old documents with electronic ones and passport applicants will now be required to pay 150,000 shillings (about 67 US dollars) to obtained the new, improved document.
The current passports will remain in use for two years until January 2020, before they are phased out.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK