A new identity card for the Burkinabe: within two years, Burkina Faso's Office of National Identification (ONI) aims to provide every citizen with a new tamper-proof national identity card. Pierre Tiendrebeogo, ONI's managing director, explains the project's benefits to African Business.

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With a background in military computer engineering, Pierre Tiendrebeogo became the managing director of the National Office of identification (ONI) in 2006. He is now responsible for a programme to introduce a new identity card for every citizen to replace the old version that is prone to fraud.

AB: What were the reasons for creating ONI?

PT: It was seen as necessary for reasons of national security. The old identity cards were being counterfeited and that meant the viability of those documents was always in doubt. No one could be quite certain about a person's national identification papers. The shortcomings of the former ID cards led the authorities to address the problem and look at new ways to ensure the credibility of our official documents and identity cards.

It is for this reason that the government created ONI, in order to co-ordinate all the processes in the introduction of new identity cards.

AB: And 'Operation Burkina identity' is part of this programme?

PT: Yes. 'Operation Burkina identity' is the programme for the nationwide collection of all the relevant data in order to produce the new ID card. Our role today is to train and send teams to every corner of the country, to ensure that all government officials are aware of this new approach and prepared to follow the strict procedures put in place to issue the new ID card to citizens.


This requires a change in attitude of these officials and their working practices. As we travel to each region, we make absolutely sure that all the parties involved are fully prepared for this exercise. We are, however, aware that staffing levels at some police stations are insufficient to cope with the public demand. As a solution, to compensate for these staff shortages, we have created...

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