Kenya Upgrading Moi International Airport with Japanese Facial Recognition Technology

News Thu, 08/08/2019 - 11:46 Share

The Government of Kenya through the Department of Immigration Services (DIS), in partnership with IOM Kenya and the Embassy of Japan in Kenya, on 26 July 2019, discussed the installation and training on the facial recognition system at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

This undertaking is part of the Japan-funded project on the Comprehensive Community Stabilization in the Kenya Coast Region and Key Border Points. The Moi Airport support will entail (a) Installation of facial recognition system, and (b) Training of Immigration officers for use and management of the software and hardware of the system.

The Embassy of Japan, represented by Second Secretary Mr Yoshinori Makino, emphasized strengthening immigration management capacity. He said, “I hope that this project will contribute to improving the security and border management at the Moi International Airport, so that the residents of Mombasa can enjoy a more peaceful environment.”

IOM Kenya Acting Chief of Mission, Ferdinand Paredes recognized the tireless leadership of the then Principal Secretary Major Gen (Rtd) Dr. Gordon Kihalangwa (recently appointed as Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Defense) for pushing this partnership to address the challenges of porous borders, and the dedicated support of the Immigration Department for the replication of the pilot project in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Muhuru Bay to Mombasa.

The NEC Corporation, represented by Mr William Hunter, Business Development Manager for NEC Africa, noted the trailblazing role of Kenya for the use of Japanese facial recognition technology.  Bangladesh and Angola airports learned from Kenya’s good practices and have followed the adoption of the same technology after visiting Kenya.

The GoK officials underscored the importance of the continuing partnership between IOM and the invaluable support of Japan since TICAD VI. Kenya DIS Director Alexander Muteshi cited IOM’s partnership as key for safe and better migration management and screening. He remarked that, ”Today is an important day for migration management and border security concern. We look forward in continuing the collaboration.”

Kenya DIS Deputy Director Pamela Otieno underlined the appreciation for collaboration with IOM and NEC for making Mombasa, Kenya safer. And the Moi Airport Director Charles Mwendo expressed optimism and “appreciation for IOM and Government of Japan for identifying our airport for the installation of the Japanese technology, and calls upon immigration officers to utilize the system to help enhance their  skills.”

The meeting also included onsite assessment of the Moi International Airport from departure to arrival areas, as well as technical exchanges with the local immigration officers to be trained for the use and maintenance of the Japanese technology. Interface with other airports are under discussions.