GID shifting to digital migration data collection

Feb 26, 2021, 10:47 AM | Article By: Fatou Bojang

The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Thursday launched the Migration Information and Data Analysis system (MIDAS) at the GID headquarters in Banjul.

MIDAS is a comprehensive and affordable border management information system that is operational in over 20 countries including Madagascar, Liberia, Congo, Burkina Faso amongst others for effective border control and management. Developed by IOM in 2009, the programme has the capability to collect, process, store and analyse traveler information in real-time and across an entire border network by capturing both the biographic and biometric information of travelers.

The designed programme is funded by the people of Japan and installed in three key border crossing points: Amdallai in the North Bank Region, Farafenni and Giboro in the West Coast Region.

Speaking at the launching event, Seedy Touray, director general, GID, said the provision of MIDAS is an activity implemented under the project: “Enhancing Capacities of The Gambia’s Local and Central Governments to Manage Borders and Contribute to Trade Facilitation, Community and Economic Development.”

He emphasised the importance of migration data collection and management, saying it is central to the core mandate of the The Gambia Immigration Department. The advent of MIDAS, he continued, is timely and very relevant to the work of the Immigration Department.

He added that efforts are currently in advanced stages to have the system installed at the Sabi Border Post in URR, noting that their ultimate long term target is to have such system installed at all the official entry points of the country and also have the provision of the MIDAS mobile kit to all their border patrol teams across the country.

“For many years, border officers of the Department working at various border points of the country collect and collate such migration data manually. This was not only a tedious task to perform but the likelihood of the reporting of inaccurate data was also very high,” he pointed out.

Ms. Fumiko Nagano, IOM’s chief of mission in The Gambia said MIDAS is a high quality, user friendly, cost effective and fully customised border management information system that was developed by IOM for states in need of a cost effective and comprehensive solution. MIDAS, she said, is designed to be compliant with international standards.

The project, she went added is to improve the country’s border management system through an integrated three pillar approach: improve physical infrastructure, strengthen migration data collection and analysis and enhance institutional capacity through inter agency cooperation.

Abubacarr D. Gibba, a senior assistant secretary at the Ministry of Interior, said MIDAS in The Gambia marks a significant milestone IOM has taken in complementing government’s efforts towards operational capacity improvement of the personnel of the Immigration Department.

“This is indeed a great achievement where we have now graduated from the old practice of manual to a digital data collection, analyses and management of migration flows within the walls of national and regional frontiers,” he added.

He went further to request for extension of assistance with expansion of MIDAS installation to the rest of the country’s land and sea borders.