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Kenya launches e-passport to ease cross-border travel, commerce

By Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Thursday launched an electronic passport with advanced inbuilt features to boost efficient, secure and traceable cross-border movement of people and goods.

Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i, said the launch of an electronic passport was in line with Kenya’s commitment to promote regional integration as envisioned by member states of the East African Community (EAC).

“The common East Africa e-passport is a milestone towards realization of the East African integration and cross-border migration agenda. It will also operationalize EAC protocols on common market and foreign policy coordination,” said Matiang’i.

Kenya became the second East African nation after Burundi to announce issuance of an e-passport that was endorsed by regional heads of state during a summit held in March 2016.

Matiang’i said the current passports will be obsolete by September 2019 to pave way for mass issuance of a digital version that is tamper-proof.

“The e-passport is highly secure and difficult to produce duplicates. Issuance of this passport will come in handy in addressing emerging threats of terrorism and human trafficking,” Matiang’i said.

He noted that Kenya’s immigration system will win global confidence upon issuance of secure, efficient and user-friendly electronic passports.

Kenya has invested heavily in state-of-theart technology alongside skilled manpower to modernize issuance of travel documents against a backdrop of globalization.

Director of Immigration Gordon Kilahangwa said the state had invested 5 million U.S. dollars to facilitate issuance of electronic passports that enhances smooth clearance of travelers at border crossings and other ports of entry.



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