Apex body announces plans to launch e-passports

Issuance of the e-passport is expected to set the stage for AU member states to adopt and ratify the necessary protocols and legislation

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, attends the Valletta Summit on Migration in Valletta, Malta, November 12, 2015.

Media reports reveal that the African Union (AU) is set to launch the electronic passport (e-Passport) at the next AU Summit holding in July this year in Kigali, Rwanda.

The first group of people to get the e-passport will include: AU Heads of State and Government; Ministers of Foreign Affairs; and the Permanent Representatives of AU Member States based at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, according to an AU statement issued last week Tuesday.

The AU e-Passports will be issued to the aforementioned beneficiaries at the 27th AU Summit in July, 2016, in Kigali, according to a statement from the apex body.

Issuance of the e-passport is expected to set the stage for AU member states to adopt and ratify the necessary protocols and legislation with the view to begin issuing the much expected African passport, the statement added.

"This is a steady step toward the objective of creating a strong, prosperous and integrated Africa, driven by its own citizens and capable of taking its rightful place on the world stage," said Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the AU Commission.

The initiative was first agreed upon in 2014 and falls within the framework of Africa's Agenda 2063. It has the specific aim of facilitating free movement of persons, goods and services around the continent so as to foster intra-Africa trade, integration and socio-economic development, the statement further explained.

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