“For a more secure world”: This brief, yet clear five-word motto wonderfully sums up the philosophy of this company with operations around the world, including in Europe and in Africa.
Semlex was founded in Belgium in 1992, and is the world’s pioneer in biometric identification solutions. Lead by Albert Karaziwan, a philanthropist businessman with a passion for new technologies, this Belgian company has put its expertise to good use serving governments, international organizations, developing countries and the most needy populations for more than 25 years.
Creation, History and International Expansion
Founded in Brussels in 1992,
Semlex Europe entered the world of biometrics with one goal in mind: to fight identity fraud in the United States, which was a widespread problem across the Atlantic at that time. To do so, the company invented software and systems used to guarantee a person’s identity as well as the authenticity of official documents such as passports, visas and student cards. Its mission is as delicate as it is ambitious, because to guarantee residents’ security, innovative technologies must be implemented that are able to withstand fraudsters and document falsifiers. Eager to create infallible tools responding to the needs of its customers, the company run by Albert Karaziwan uses many forms of biometrics, including fingerprinting, facial recognition, iris scanning, hand geometry, etc.
In 10 years,
Semlex has emerged as a major player in this market. The company turned toward Africa, a continent with a high potential that was unfortunately too often neglected by new technologies. The challenge was double: to equip Africa with powerful tools like those found in Europe and North America, and to fight crime by helping the African governments better secure their borders.
It was in Chad in 2001
when Semlex marked its great beginnings in biometrics in Africa. The Belgian company implemented a biometric ID card there, a first for that country. The company earned the Chadian government’s trust because of the reliability of its tools. This opened the doors to the African continent and Semlex was thereafter awarded many other contracts in Africa and in Europe. The Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau and Madagascar were among the first African countries interested in this Belgian company’s services.
The year 2006
was also a very significant year in this young company’s journey. This is when Africa’s first biometric passport was introduced in Madagascar. Some would say that this was an incredible achievement.
as Semlex has collaborated with other countries, it has perfected its technology and diversified its services. It also made a highly important strategic decision to control all the links in its chain of production. For this reason, it acquired its own printing company in Lithuania in 2014. This acquisition enabled it to deliver even more secure documents without having to depend on external providers.
In order to increase its credibility and to foster direct collaboration with the authorities, Semlex opened offices in the countries with which it collaborates, including Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Madagascar, Gabon, Kenya, and Niger…Add the parent company to these subsidiaries (Semlex Europe S.A), the offices responsible for the African division (Semlex Africa), the Research and Development division (Semlex Biometrics S.A) and the Equipment division (Profabel Semlex S.A).
Biometric Network System – BNS
Other ProductsThe Biometric Network System (BNS) is the Belgian company’s flagship product. It is a reliable and secure biometric identification system network. This ultra-powerful software is capable of managing a large database that encompasses many applications, while guaranteeing the confidentiality of the data. The Semlex BNS provides, in particular, its users with the ability to verify the identity of individuals, to conduct a census on the population, to issue passports and other documents. The BNS also provides another considerable advantage – it can be connected to other information systems to cross-reference data.
The Biometric Network System can be used by:
– The ministries of the interior (border control),
– The ministries of defense
– Immigration departments
The BNS has many fields of application. It can also be used in the fields of education, transportation and as part of a free and fair election process (voter cards, electoral lists). The BNS is also flexible and able to process many millions of people, it adapts to its user, to the desired outcome and its environment.
The Belgian company also specializes in the design of:
– Civil registration documents
– Postal and excise stamps (used by customs to track goods),
– Mobile biometric data recording stations, to help register citizens, even in difficult to access areas.
– Electronic gates to control passengers at the borders (“E-Gates”)
– Border control systems (Multi Border Management System – MBMS).
Biometric Cards, Passports and Visas
Biometric cards include national ID cards, residence cards, police ID cards, ID cards for government officials, military ID cards and driver’s licenses. Biometric security is generally guaranteed by fingerprints. Other features can be used to increase this security, such as electronic cards, the PDF 417 barcode, rainbow printing, holograms, micro-printing, metallic ink, UV ink, guilloche, etc.
Passports and visas comply with all recommendations issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Like biometric cards, these documents contain a multitude of elements that guarantee their authenticity and prevent them from being falsified. They have a special zone called the “Machine Readable Zone” that facilitates reading the document owner’s information.
A Wide Variety of Services for Personalized Support
Not only does the company provide turnkey systems, it also offers several services to support the user at each step of the solution’s implementation, such as integrating systems and equipment, creating and sending documents, and providing training and technical assistance.
From E-passports, postal stamps, biometric access badges, visas, and even driver’s licenses, Semlex’s offerings cover a wide range of documents that are useful for the proper functioning of a country. Today the company provides its services to 40 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Here are some of the nations and the products provided to them in the most significant contracts :
e-passports, seafarer’s passports, visas, residence cards, stamps
passports, e-passports, visas, residence cards, ID cards
passports, visas, residence cards, ID cards, border control
visas, residence permits, ID cards, driver’s licenses, registration certificates, border control
passports, ID cards, residence cards, ID cards for government officials, military ID cards, veterans ID cards
e-passports, ID cards, driver’s licenses, stamps
Schengen visas, ID cards, residence cards, ID cards for government officials, driver’s licenses, certificates and license plates, auto stickers, civil acts
The Company’s Values and Commitments
The company places data security and confidentiality at the heart of its strategy. In order to help in the fight against identity fraud and criminality, it attends Interpol’s general assemblies every year. It also provides its expert advice to the Chiefs of Police of Central Africa. Furthermore, it issues ID cards to officials from international organizations such as the United Nations (UNO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Quality is also one of the company’s pillars. For this reason, it has been ISO 9001 (2008) certified since 2013, as well as ISO 14001 (2015) certified. Its products and solutions meet the standards of many national organizations such as the American National Standards Institute and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States).
In March 2017, the company’s management published a memorandum in which it reaffirmed its primary commitments: to improve the existing integrated quality/environment management, to meet quality and environmental standards, to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, and to implement actions and plans designed to protect the environment.
Semlex also supports community projects in many African countries. For example, it helped install a pumping and water treatment station in Moheli (Comoros) to facilitate the residents’ access to drinking water. The facility was inaugurated in the presence of many dignitaries such as Mrs. Hadidja Aboubacar (the First Lady of the Comoros), Mrs. Sitty Kassim (the Minister of Employment), Mr. Mohamed Ali Said (the Governor of Moheli), the Saudi Arabian Ambassador and Mr. Albert Karaziwan, Semlex’s CEO.