The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Prof. Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, has reaffirmed its commitment to providing the necessary information to help the Zambia improve the well-being of refugees in their country.
Prof. Agyemang Attafuah gave the assurance when the Zambia Refugee Commission paid courtesy call on him to learn about the NIA’s refugee registration process.
He explained that refugee registration in Ghana is under the purview of the Ghana Refugee Board and the NIA.
He said the Zambian delegation’s visit aimed to learn about how Ghana registers refugees to improve their economic activities. He noted that it is also to know how Ghana modernizes settlements, harmonizes documentation, and removes barriers that hinder refugees’ mobility and enjoyment of life.
Prof. Attafuah further discussed the establishment and mandate of the NIA and how identity issues have been at the heart of many political crises in Ghana.
He stressed the importance of ensuring the integrity of the electoral process, disclosing 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”.
The NIA Executive Secretary revealed his outfit’s plans to register Ghanaian children between ages 15 and 18 and those between ages 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.
For his part, 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.
In his view, with suitable investment and wise policies, welcoming refugees can yield substantial economic dividends.
Prof. Ng’andu indicated that the Zambian government sees refugees are a viable resource that can be managed to contribute to the country’s economy.
He also touched on 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.