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Zimbabwe is set to revolutionise its border security by introducing an advanced biometric system, incorporating fingerprint and iris recognition technology, to streamline and secure entry and exit processes.

The Chief Immigration Officer, Ms. Respect Gono announced that the initiative aims to replace traditional manual checks with automated solutions, enhancing efficiency and security at the nation's borders.

The new Online Border Management System (OBMS) will be piloted at major points of entry, including Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Victoria Falls International Airport, and Beitbridge Border Post, with additional implementations at several inland stations.

This system marks a significant modernization of the immigration process, positioning Zimbabwe as a leader in border security technology within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Ms. Gono highlighted the benefits of the OBMS in a statement to the press.

"This border management system will enhance the coordination and efficiency of all border agencies, facilitating a more secure and seamless process for travellers," she explained.

The system draws inspiration from Dubai’s Smart Gates and promises a contactless, efficient entry process for visitors.

Security expert Givemore Njanji explained that the OBMS is designed to integrate seamlessly with existing security databases, allowing for real-time identity verification through cutting-edge biometric technologies.

“Travellers will encounter digital gate platforms equipped with automated self-service barriers that utilise data from their passports, biometric information, and pre-submitted travel details. For those not using the pre-clearance facility, a kiosk model will be available to guide them through the necessary steps,” said Njanji.

Njanji added that each traveller’s identity will be verified through a combination of fingerprint and iris scans, matched against data stored in the national immigration database.

“This approach not only speeds up the immigration process but also significantly increases security by preventing identity fraud and illegal entry,” said Njanji.

According to Njanji, the implementation of this system is a proactive measure to safeguard Zimbabwe's borders against the backdrop of global security challenges.

“By adopting such advanced technology, Zimbabwe aims to ensure a balance between welcoming global visitors and maintaining stringent security measures that align with international standards,” added Njanji.

As the pilot phase commences at key transit hubs, the successful integration of the OBMS will serve as a benchmark for other countries in the region, showcasing Zimbabwe's commitment to embracing technological solutions to enhance national and regional security.