The National Identification Authority (NIA) has hosted a delegation from the Zambia Refugee Commission to learn about the NIA’s refugee registration process. During the meeting, the Executive Secretary of NIA, Prof. Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, expressed NIA’s commitment to providing the necessary information to help the Zambian delegation improve the well-being of refugees in their country.
He explained that refugee registration in Ghana is under the purview of the Ghana Refugee Board and the NIA. He highlighted that the Zambian delegation’s visit aimed to learn about how Ghana registers refugees improves their economic activities, modernizes settlements, harmonizes documentation, and removes barriers that hinder their mobility and enjoyment of life.
Prof. Attafuah discussed the establishment and mandate of the NIA and how identity issues have been at the heart of many political crises in Ghana. He emphasized the importance of ensuring the integrity of the electoral process and stated that the NIA has so far registered 17.37 million people out of a population of 19 million, with 16.7 million Ghanaians receiving their cards.
He also mentioned that the NIA plans to register Ghanaian children between the ages of 15 and 18 and those between the ages of 6 and 14, with the latter exercise starting on June 1, 2023. Additionally, he talked about the registration of Ghanaians abroad and foreigners in Ghana.
Prof. Prosper Ng’andu, the UN High Commissioner of Refugees in Zambia who led the delegation, stressed that policymakers and practitioners need to stop referring to refugees as a “burden” and start seeing them as an opportunity. He noted that with suitable investment and wise policies, welcoming refugees can yield substantial economic dividends.
According to Prof. Ng’andu, the Zambian government sees refugees as a viable resource that can be managed to contribute to the country’s economy. He discussed the need to digitize refugees and bring them under one platform, as Ghana is doing with the Ghana Card, to manage them properly and provide support.