Semlex angles for biometric passport contract
The Belgian company Semlex has activated its contacts, particularly at the foreign ministry, in the hope of winning the tender call ahead of nine other firms.
The presidency signed a framework agreement for the supply of biometric documents with the French parastatal company IN Groupe six months ago. But Congolese ministries continue to make deals for biometric documents with other service providers.
Biometric identification is booming across African countries where governments have issued licences for identification document and electoral card production. For the moment this high-growth market is dominated by French, German and Belgian firms - Thales, Idemia, Veridos, Zetes and Semlex - but dynamic outsiders, such as Augentic, are beginning to nudge their way in.
In Berlin today at the invitation of Angela Merkel, the DRC president is using every available means to pull his country out of diplomatic isolation. Rather than relying on a diplomatic corps that was largely inherited from his predecessor Joseph Kabila, he has preferred to rely on a group of loyalists from within the presidency.
One of the tasks of the new Congolese government is to seal a deal with the state-owned French firm over the installation of a multi-document platform that can print the country's biometric passports and identity cards and may later produce biometric driving licences.
Since he replaced Vital Kamerhe, interim presidential chief of staff Désiré-Cashmir Kolongele Eberande has been relying on military intelligence to sort through the state's "sovereign" contract commitments, especially those involving identity papers.