Semlex is a Belgian company, headquartered in Brussels, that has developed a solution for biometric ID document identification and authentication. Its CEO and creator Albert Karaziwan founded the company because he recognized that with the world’s growing security needs, identification and travel documents must be as reliable as possible. Biometrics are used to create documents and a database containing verifiable biometric information about a traveller’s identity, in case of any doubt. The company has developed a system that performs this verification through a simple comparison of fingerprints.
The company’s beginnings date back to 1992. Biometrics were not yet used for the purposes of identification documents. Semlex first launched in Africa, where citizens in many countries had incomplete civil statuses. The first biometric ID card was created for Chad in 2001, and other African nations followed suit in 2006 by entrusting Semlex, including Guinea-Bissau, Gabon and Madagascar, where the African continent’s first biometric passport was issued.
More recently, two major projects were launched in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Mozambique, Semlex is working on a comprehensive project involving document manufacture, personalization and issuance to citizens. This operation was made possible through the acquisition of a company specializing in fiduciary printing. Controlling all phases of production guarantees that the process is completely reliable. Other projects were undertaken in Africa and in Europe, including Ireland, Georgia, Luxembourg and Lithuania.
Albert Karaziwan, the founder of Semlex Group, developed biometric population identification solutions. Their purpose is to deliver highly secure documents for nations that are confronted with public security challenges. Policing, transportation and border security are examples of the highly sensitive sectors that require maximum security. With this in mind, Semlex developed the Biometric Network System (BNS), an extremely reliable system that generates biometric identification databases on individuals. With this system, a variety of official documents can be produced to establish a match between those documents and their owners.
Semlex provides a range of products whose specifications meet security requirements. The goal is to verify a person’s identity with absolute certainty by comparing it to the reference data.
Semlex produces an entire range of secure cards, such as national ID cards and driver’s licenses, residence cards, official and police ID cards, and even military ID cards. This list is not exhaustive and the company can provide any other document. The hardware components ensure maximum electronic security including, for example, a PDF 417 barcode format that stores data on two dimensions and contains a great deal of information. Fingerprints, an image of the iris, a picture of the face, or hand geometry are the most common identifiers.
The biometric passport
is designed according to the highest international standards, those of theInternational Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Storing data on a contactless integrated chip in the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) provides at minimum an automatic reading of the passport’s biographic data as well as a picture of the face. Other biometric identifiers can be added, such as a picture of the iris or a fingerprint.
comply with internationally imposed standards and contain data that is automatically read in the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ), including the nationality, name, birthdate, gender, passport number, expiry date and personal identification number.
Civil status documents
on watermarked paper featuring the country’s coat of arms provide the same fiduciary security guarantees as visas.
have a decisive economic role in some countries in the traceability of goods. Equipped with a QR code scanned by a security officer, they contain the secure and verifiable information of the stamp and the product.
Of the tools designed and provided by the company, mobile recording stations are a flagship product. They are used to collect data and to help manage citizens’ civil statuses, voting and border identity control, and they contain a data collection application, a high-definition camera and a fingerprint reader. Powerful and easily transportable, they can also be equipped with a fingerprint reader capable of reading all four fingers and the thumb. They meet the most demanding requirements in biometrics.
The company provides and installs last-generation electronic gates called “E-Gate”. They have multiple functionalities related to verifying the travel document and the physical verification of the traveller. The E-Gate can serve as the main portal and helps to improve border-crossing fluidity.
A border control system, the Multi Border Management System (MBS), provides multiple, accurate functionalities to facilitate border controls and crossing.
Semlex, a Major International Company with Strong Values
Semlex is the first company to have implemented electronic and/or biometric security solutions in Africa, in the Ivory Coast in 1999 and in 2001 in Chad.
The company has contracts with other member nations of the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS), including Guinea Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Niger. In 2015, after a call for competition, Semlex was awarded the contract to produce the passport for the Democratic Republic of Congo. The company stood out from its competitors because of its 20 years of experience in biometrics, its role as a pioneer in Africa, the way it operates and because it listens to its customers. It is a true partnership, implemented with the countries while taking their financial situation into consideration.
Semlex Europe works on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis. The company does not charge its customers a purchase price, but instead levies a royalty in consideration for services rendered. This is a fixed percentage calculated on the public price of identity documents. It is collected for a specified period of time, after which the local equipment and facilities are transferred to that particular country for free.
Partner countries favor this method, as they are not required to finance a significant investment. It is a “win-win” model that many countries eagerly support.
Semlex’s economic success is therefore due not only to the quality and remarkable technology of its products and services but also to the quality of its skills and its human relationships. Semlex is an independent company at all levels. Its growth and success are a result of the economic and strategic choices it has made.
Son développement et sa réussite sont le fruit de choix économiques et stratégiques qui lui sont propres.
The project implemented in 2008 in the archipelago of Comoros, a developing country, is a telling example of Semlex’s ability to adapt to a country’s complex reality. The contract required production of biometric passports, identity cards and visas, biometric driver’s licenses and residence cards. The on-site team successfully handled a variety of challenges related to the country’s culture, in particular while managing the local teams and operating in often-difficult working conditions. When the products were completed, training was provided to the local users so that they could use them correctly. Now, 10 years later, Comoros has renewed its contracts with the Belgian company.
The Government of Dominica, in the Caribbean, also called upon Semlex in 2017 to help it achieve its objectives to ensure free and fair elections in the country. The company designed a new biometric ID card equipped with optimal security functions and compliant with ICAO standards. This project was fundamental to the country’s democracy, and was carried out and implemented thanks to Semlex’s technical and human skills.
Semlex is well known in the emerging biometric security sector because of its reliability and professionalism. This innovative company is in a great position to take on new challenges and to support many countries in their efforts to ensure their residents’ security.