ON FEBRUARY 10, 2022, the Ghanaian presidency tweeted that Ghana’s national identity card would be recognised globally as a valid e-passport/ID card.
The Office of the President in a follow-up tweet archived here said [Ghanaians] “can now use #GhanaCard as e-passport in 44,000 airports globally”.
Spokesperson to the Ghanaian Vice President, Dr Gideon Boako in a media chat, confirmed that Ghana has gone through the process of having its national ID card certified as an e-passport.
By this announcement, information has circulated on social media that Ghanaians no longer need passports and visas to travel through 97 borders and 44,000 airports across the world.
Some credible news websites have also published the claim.
But Nigerians who follow this news have been wondering if the claim is true.
“Where are my Ghanaian peeps? Is this true? Naija how far?? Hmm,” a popular Nigerian actress, Kate Henshaw recently asked on Twitter.
Her tweet has garnered over 3,500 likes and 876 retweets as of Friday, February 25, 2022. While some debunked the news, others confirmed it.
Some have gone ahead to take a swipe at the Nigerian government for being unable to provide an identity card of equal status to her citizens.
The FactCheckHub has investigated the claim and found it to be MISLEADING.
The International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), an organisation responsible for the development of international air transport, has denied certifying the use of Ghana identity cards for international travel in place of a passport.
The organisation said only a sovereign state can determine the acceptability of alternative travel identity documents, adding that it has no power to do such.
“Any decision to accept such alternative travel identity document is made by the receiving state itself,” ICAO clarified.
The ICAO said its previous statements at the ceremony where the Ghana card was launched were misrepresented by the media.
Gideon Boako also later corrected himself saying the holder of a Ghana card would only be allowed to board a flight to Ghana (receiving country) from any airport, just as with the normal biometric passport, without the need for a visa. But this is not applicable to Ghanaians travelling to other countries.
He added that the diasporic Ghanaians who hold the Ghana card would not require a visa to travel to Ghana or within the ECOWAS states.
Travelling outside ECOWAS, however, will require that Ghanaians use the normal biometric passport which will contain visas.
He expressed hope that the Ghana Card will be admissible as a travelling document by other countries in the future.
“In the not-too-distant future, we expect that electronic visas will be issued under ICAO 2.0 protocols. When this starts, electronic visas could be issued on the Ghana card under bilateral arrangements with other countries,” Boako said.
However, there are a total of 41,820 airports in the world, according to the CIA World Fact Book, and not 44,000 as claimed by the Ghanaian authorities.
All facts considered, the claim that Ghanaians can travel with the National ID card to 97 countries is FALSE.
|1. Ghana’s national identity card will now be duly recognised globally as a valid e-passport.||
|The holder of a Ghana card would only be allowed to board a flight to Ghana (receiving country) from any airport, just as with the normal biometric passport. But this is not applicable to Ghanaians travelling to other countries, says Dr Gideon Boako, spokesperson to the Ghanaian Vice President.|
|2. There are 44,000 airports globally that accept the Ghana card as e-passport.||
|There are a total of 41,820 airports in the world, according to the CIA World Fact Book.|
|3. Ghanaians can travel with the National ID card to 97 countries||
|The ICAO said only a sovereign state can determine the acceptability of alternative travel identity documents, adding that it has no power to do such.|
* This fact-check was produced by The FactCheckHub in partnership with Code for Africa’s PesaCheck.
*Update: After publication, Ghana Immigration Service published a press release to debunk the claim that the e-card will be recognised globally as a valid passport.