Mauritania: a single integrated system

Since July 11, 2010, Morpho has been helping the Mauritanian government revamp its public records system and bolster its citizens’ security. This innovative program includes identifying the population, producing identification documents, managing police records and establishing secure border controls.

In December 2009, the Ministry of the Interior and Decentralization issued a call for bids for the production of ID documents. It was part of the country’s progress approach, reflecting a determination to modernize its administration and efficiently manage its population, especially in view of the elections in November 2011.

After a very open bidding process, the contract was awarded to Morpho on June 7, 2010. In a very farsighted move, the Mauritanian government asked Morpho to devise a system combining civil, police and border-control applications.

The contract was signed on July 11, 2010. It was a sizable challenge to give the country a single integrated system for managing its population and secure national ID documents, baptized SIGPTS.

Successful cooperation in record times
The Morpho-developed system provides reliable registration of the population, establishes a public records system, produces customized high-tech ID documents and, in a groundbreaking move, interfaces them with police and border-control records. This tailored solution caters for all of the operational, logistic and technical aspects of the program, from signing the contract through to the end of the warranty. The Ministry of the Interior and Decentralization accordingly set up ANRPTS, an independent agency for population records and secure documents charged with directing the program.

The first phase of work got under way. «We completely re-engineered the existing systems. The operational processes were completed redesigned with the ANRPTS,» said Emmanuel Carle, Program Head. «We ran workshops to identify the Agency’s skills and define its requirements. The latter consisted in an always-on connection and adjusting the system to the local culture, which calls on its more senior members to corroborate a citizen’s identity».

At the same time, ANRPTS recruited dedicated staff for the program and built the infrastructure necessary for its implementation, such as the Nouakchott facility, which centralizes registration data, customizes the secure ID documents, weeds out duplicates using biometric identification, and generates a national ID number for each citizen.

Over 50 people from Morpho worked alongside ANRPTS to successfully revamp the system in record time. « Setting up a cutting-edge system of this type in less than a year called for real dedication on our part and a relationship of complete trust with ANRPTS, » said Laurent Boni, Head of the Program Integration Unit.

At the end of April 2011, after two months of testing and validation, the Morpho-developed system was complete and reliable. The registration centers were being rolled out in accordance with the customer’s schedule. The design and production of the secure cards and passports had been accepted. « This project is a perfect example of teamwork between Morpho, its Dutch subsidiary, Morpho B.V., which contributed its technological superiority in custom, ultra-secure ID documents and electronic passports, and its German subsidiary Morpho Cards GmbH, a leader in smart cards, » said Oscar Leurs, Project Manager.

An innovative, made-to-measure integrated system
To meet the government’s security and reliability requirements, the solution uses the world’s only multi-biometric system based on fingerprint and facial recognition.

The multi-application card is an ID card and voter registration card rolled into one, providing very high-level security for voting processes. It can also include a driver’s license or healthcare card (see inset). Only the official citizen reception centers are authorized to update the cards and this traceability provides extra protection when documents are produced and issued.

Morpho is also rolling out its MorphoCheck fixed and mobile document-checking stations to authenticate the bearers of biometric cards and electronic passports. What sets this program apart is that it creates a gateway between different record systems, making it possible to search the civil databases to check the identity of people registered in the criminal AFIS system. It also connects to a border-control system, « Mauritania Visit », used to manage migratory flows and issue and check biometric visas.

Morpho’s involvement goes beyond the technological challenge. It has organized full training courses, change management, and initial start-up support to make the Mauritanian government self-sufficient once the program is up and running.

« It is a great honor for Morpho to support Mauritania’s innovative initiative to revamp its national ID document system, » said Jean-Paul Jainsky, Morpho’s Chairman and CEO. « This bespoke project is an excellent reference in technology and cooperation with a government. »