By Awa B. Bah
The Pristine Consulting family in the Gambia on Thursday 8th June 2017 held a press briefing with journalist at its office in Fajara. The purpose for the briefing was about launching the next generation of the Gambis platform to help Gambian businesses authenticate the identities of their customers, to share knowledge of the great Gambis platform built by young Gambians, to provide a situational assessment on the Gambis project, to conduct a verification demonstration on the processes of the Gambis system and to provide clarity and educate the Gambians on the technical aspects of the project.
Pristine Consulting is a Gambian owned information technology that focuses on software development and systems integration. The Gambia Biometric Identity System (GAMBIS) project is the world’s first integrated Biometric Identity Management System. Through this system, the Government of The Gambia has captured biometric details for all citizens and aliens in the country.
The Gambia Biometric Identification System (GAMBIS) is the body responsible for issuing national ID cards, residential permits (A/B), driving licenses and work permits on behalf of the Government of the Republic of The Gambia. The project that was launched on 23 July, 2009, aims to digitally record the biometric details of all citizens and aliens in the country. The reason for the project is to enhance the security of identity documents in order to facilitate commercial, legal, financial and governmental transactions around the nation.
Responding to questions from journalist at the briefing was Abdourahman Touray, the Chief Executive Officer of Pristine Consulting. He remarked that Pristine is a Gambian company, founded by Gambians with a vision for the Gambia and operates within the shores of the Gambia with a total staff of over 300 trained, skilled and committed young Gambians, selected from Gambian schools and the University of the Gambia.
Mr. Touray revealed that the anticipated cost to operate and provide a national document to fellow Gambians are far cheaper and reasonably affordable and attracts zero investment from Government. He said that Pristine is a top notch, Microsoft Silver Partnered Technology Company, with over 15 years of experience in software applications and the first company to design, introduce and implement a biometric identification software platform which brought GAMBIS to the doorsteps of Gambians.
Engagement of Pristine to provide national documents was defined under the Gambis Project and clearly and legally spelt out in signed and binding contract documents with the Government of the Gambia. These contracts he recalled have not and never been terminated and as a Gambian company, Pristine has legal rights to obtain and win government contracts and be given all the considerations to showcase its competency.
Mr. Touray further revealed that Pristine has in its possession, the database for 800,000 citizens which could be used for verification purposes across different sectors of the economy, thereby enhancing socio-economic development. Because of the existing quantum bio-data residing with Pristine, he suggests that re-application would not be necessary, adding that candidates seeking ID cards would not have to start a complete new process from filling out forms, getting registered and interviewed. Given the strategic location of Pristine with the infrastructure at its disposal, he noted that operations can realistically kick off and new ID cards will be made available within two weeks.
Mr. Touray gave the guarantee that our national documents are in the hands of Gambians as primary custodians and not with self-serving foreign companies.
According to Mr. Touray, Gambis is the world’s first totally integrated multi-document identification platform meaning that the platform was the first platform in the world in which national identity documents such as National ID Cards, Driver Licenses, and Residential Permits are all issued on the same platform using the same database. This he described is a significant achievement that Gambians and Africans should be proud of.
He said the platform was invented and developed by a Gambian and it is the type of technological innovation that African countries will need in order to develop.
“Over 4 million pages of documentation have been collected so far with over 100 Immigration and Police officers trained, to use the platform”, said Touray.
The Gambis project he said has been entirely pre-financed by Pristine Consulting to the tune of over $3 million (three million dollars) with the Government of The Gambia spending zero dollars. The project he said has netted GOG about 300 million dalasi and is the most successful Public Private Partnership project in Gambian history to date.
In conclusion, the Chief Executive Officer of Pristine Consulting, A. Draman Touray, used the occasion to announce the launch of a new product called ID Check to help businesses identify their customers. “We are excited to launch our ID Check product in The Gambia following its successful use in 8 West African countries by various businesses including banks and microfinance institutions. We believe that our biometric software technology will reduce risks for Gambian businesses and make it easier to get access to finance and other vital services,” he concluded.