Zimbabwe Implements Biometric Border Control, the first of its kind in SADC

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HARARE, Zimbabwe — In a bid to modernize and enhance security at its borders, Zimbabwe is set to implement fingerprint and iris biometrics technology. This move aims to automate tasks traditionally performed by human agents, such as checking passports, verifying visas, and managing entry and exit records.

The new border control system will be piloted at key points of entry, including Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Victoria Falls International Airport, and the Beitbridge Border Post, along with several inland stations.

This was confirmed by Gono, the chief director of immigration, during an interview with The Sunday Mail.

According to Gono, the new border management system will improve coordination among all border agencies, providing a centralized platform for border control and security agencies to access and share information. The system, supplied by Garsu Pasaulis—Zimbabwe’s current passport provider—aims to streamline border operations significantly.

“This border management system will enhance the coordination and efficiency of all border agencies, facilitating a more secure and seamless process for travelers,” said Gono.

The online border management system (OBMS) is reportedly the first of its kind in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. It is designed on the model of Dubai’s Smart Gates, offering a contactless immigration process.

The OBMS includes digital gate platforms with automated self-service barriers that use data from travelers’ passports, biometrics, and pre-submitted travel details. For those not utilizing the pre-clearance facility, a kiosk model is available.

The e-gates leverage biometric verification through fingerprint and iris scans, ensuring that each traveler’s identity is matched against data stored in the national immigration database. This technology promises a more secure and efficient border control process.

In a related development, the Solomon Islands is also working on implementing a new border management system aimed at enhancing national security and immigration management. According to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, this system will streamline visa processes by offering online applications and payment options, thus improving user experience and generating revenue to support the local economy.

“We are now working on establishing a new Border Management system for the Solomon Islands. The Australian Government has agreed to provide funding support for this, and Papua New Guinea Immigration will be helping us in setting up this system,” said Permanent Secretary Riley Mesepitu.

As Zimbabwe and the Solomon Islands embark on these technological upgrades, they join a global trend of adopting advanced border control measures. These systems not only enhance security but also improve the efficiency of immigration processes, setting new standards for border management in their respective regions.