De La Rue delivers new Sierra Leone ePassport


Freetown, 7th September 2015: De La Rue successfully implements the new Sierra Leone ePassport, a key stepping stone in Sierra Leone’s digital pathway to delivering eGovernment services to its citizen population.  Delivered in the face of highly challenging and evolving circumstances, last week’s launch of Sierra Leone’s ePassport brings improved border security and the enhanced protection of citizen identities’, thanks to a go-live made possible through the use of innovative processes and a strong partnership between The Ministry of Internal Affairs and De La Rue.

As the Government of Sierra Leone dealt with the outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2014, innovative solutions were devised to allow De La Rue, working with a local partner Netpage Ltd, to manage remotely key components of the delivery, installation of technology, skills transfer and training modules. 

De La Rue defined a phased approach, designed specifically to meet Sierra Leone’s special requirements and circumstances. A new book design was launched last year with the existing Machine Readable Passport covers to replenish low running stock levels, however from go-live this week, all newly issued passports will now incorporate the new ePassport covers, in place of the existing machine readable passport(MRP) versions.

The new covers are easily distinguished by the ePassport symbol on the front cover, in line with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) recommendations, the UN’s specialist agency responsible for setting the guidelines relating to international travel documents.  The electronic chip embedded within the book carries the bearer’s details, biometric facial image and signature with data stored in the LDS (Logical Data Structure) format to ensure global interoperability also as defined by ICAO. 

Tony Mullen, Key Accounts Director at De La Rue commented “The introduction of ePassport technology and the inclusion of an electronic chip delivers both a higher level of trust in and international recognition for the Sierra Leone travel document while also improving services to passport holders in country.” He continued “It has been a challenging time for the customer during the recent Ebola outbreak but a privilege to work in such close partnership with The Ministry of Internal Affairs to ensure the successful delivery of their new ePassport documents”.

With the transition to ePassport in 2015, Sierra Leone becomes one of 108 issuing states worldwide, and one of 20 issuing states on the African continent.

De La Rue is a leading provider of sophisticated products and services that keep nations, their economies and their populations secure. At the forefront of identity management and security, De La Rue is a trusted partner of governments, central banks and commercial organisations around the globe.

De La Rue has been working in Sierra Leone since before the country’s Independence fifty-four years ago and has delivered a variety of significant projects including the Leone Banknotes, the National Identity Card, Immigration visas and the nation’s Passport.

De La Rue’s long standing relationship is further demonstrated via the launch of the De La Rue Advanced Partner Programme more than three years ago, to enable additional investment into Sierra Leone and the development of a lasting footprint for the future. Through their support of local initiatives such as Street Child Sierra Leone and the Africa Innovation Prize, De La Rue has contributed to building schools, supporting the commercial rebuild in the wake of the Ebola outbreak and also the running of an entrepreneurship scheme, awarding grass root funding to winners of its business plan competition.


About ePassports:
An electronic, or ePassport, is the latest generation of passport combining printed and digital technologies.  All of the machine readable information printed on the data page, together with a biometric measure of the passport holder, is stored in an embedded, contactless, integrated circuit chip. The data on the chip is securely protected with Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) cryptographic technology.

ePassport technology delivers a significantly higher level of trust, improves border security and dramatically enhances the protection of citizens’ identities.
- Standards for the interoperability of ePassports are set by ICAO (The Intentional Civil Aviation organisation), a specialist agency of the UN
- ICAO defines the use of PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) techniques in ePassports to allow Border Control Officials to authenticate travel documents
- Trusted verification of the document means increased certainty about the bearer’s identity
- ePassport technology is a vital tool to help combat identity theft
- 108 States worldwide currently issue ePassport documents

About De La Rue:
De La Rue is a leading commercial banknote printer, security paper maker and provider of security products and software solutions and, as a trusted partner of governments, central banks and commercial organisations around the world, is at the forefront of the battle against the counterfeiter.

As the world’s largest commercial banknote printer, De La Rue provides customers with a fully integrated range of sophisticated products and services which are available either individually or as a whole. This includes a leading design capability, production of innovative security components, manufacture of security paper and polymer substrates and sophisticated printing of banknotes, all contributing to trust in the integrity of currencies.

De La Rue is the world’s largest commercial passport manufacturer in an environment of increasing global concern over security at national boundaries and border control.

De La Rue also produces a wide range of other security products, including tax stamps for governments who are seeking to combat illicit trade and collect excise duties. Other products include authentication labels, assuring purchasers of product validity, and government identity documents. In addition the Group manufactures high speed cash sorting and banknote inspection equipment.

De La Rue also provides a range of specialist services and software solutions including government identity schemes, product authentication systems and cash management processing solutions.

De La Rue is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LON:DLAR).

For further information:

Claire Burrows
Head of Brand and Customer Marketing
T. +44 (0)1256 605000


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