MIDAS was developed by IOM in 2009 and has the capability to collect, process, store and analyse traveller information in real time across an entire border network. The system enables states to monitor those entering and exiting their borders while providing a statistical basis for migration policy-related planning.
“This system does passport reading, it takes the photo of a traveller who’s coming in, it also takes the finger prints…It’s integrated in nature,” said Matete. “This is what all this captures and then runs it over a database to check if you have the right of entry or not. If somebody is an impostor it can always flag all that at the port of entry.”
For governments, apart from cost considerations (given IOM’s status as a non-profit United Nations organization) another advantage is that IOM ensures their full and exclusive access of any data collected through the system. This is in addition to IOM providing expert guidance throughout the installation process, including training and post-project support.
Somalia’s association with MIDAS began in about 2007, and now is operational at 16 ports of entry, with over 150 work stations in both Somalia and Somaliland. Among those supporting MIDAS’ introduction in Somalia has been the European Union and Germany through the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme.
BMM is funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and is coordinated through the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ). It aims to improve migration management in order to reduce the trafficking and smuggling of migrants, within and from East and the Horn of Africa.
BMM also supported Somalia’s newly-renovated Garowe International Airport, located in the capital of Puntland state, to increase its capabilities in data management, the reception of passengers and in queue management. The airport re-opened in January, having been closed in 2013.