24 May 2006

Mozambique: Malaysia to Help Country Develop 'Smart Card'

Maputo — The Malaysian government has pledged to help the Mozambican authorities develop a "Smart Card", which will allow Mozambican citizens to have all their key documentation on the same electronic card.

To this end, Mozambique's Minister of Science and Technology, Venancio Massingue, on Wednesday signed an agreement in Maputo with the Malaysian Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dato Kong Cho Ha, who is on a three day visit to Mozambique.

"Once the smart card strategy is implemented, any Mozambican can have documents such as his identity card, passport and driving licence, among others, on the same card", said Massingue.

He said this understanding resulted from contacts last November between Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, during a "Smart Partnership" forum in Lesotho, at which the two leaders agreed their countries should cooperate in the technology area.

The visit by the Malaysian delegation seeks to identify specific areas of cooperation, particularly in applications of information and communication technologies. This could involve commercial use of computer technologies, and also the development of software for the health and education services.

Massingue added that Malaysia has pledged to assist the Mozambican authorities' "e-government" strategy, particularly in areas such as land management, and the management of the financial system.

The Wednesday agreement also opens the door to working with Malaysia on drafting "cyber-laws" - legislation governing the use of computer technology.

Other areas of cooperation include biotechnology (and its applications to agriculture, industry and health), renewable sources of energy, and low cost building materials.

The Malaysian Deputy Minister made a positive assessment of his visit, and said his meeting with Massingue "allowed the identification of areas where Malaysian involvement could give added value".

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