Seychelles has the most powerful passports in Africa, a report by Henley Passport Index has established.
A report by the pioneer passport index based on data obtained from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that Seychelles’ citizens can access up to 155 destinations visa free globally to occupy the 24th position in the rankings.
Mauritius follows Sychelles, another Island nation, which sits at position 29 in the overall rankings making it the second most powerful passport in Africa.
A tourist hub with magnificent beaches, Mauritius has an open border policy relationship with many countries which has in turn earned its citizens visa-free access to 148 countries.
South Africa’s citizens can access 106 countries without a visa, making the country’s passport the third most powerful in Africa and 51st in the world.
Botswana’s passport currently ranks fourth in Africa and 58th globally, according to the report, with its citizens enjoying visa-free access to 89 destinations out of the total 223.
Following Botswana in the rankings is neighboring Namibia which is position 62 with its citizens having free access to 81 countries out of the 227.
African Countries Dominate Most Open Countries
According to the report, African states and small islands still dominate in the list of the world’s most open countries
Burundi, Djibouti, Comoros, Seychelles, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Guinea-Bissau are among the few countries that offer visa-free entry to all passports in the world or at least a visa upon arrival.
The trend of greater travel freedom is evident in the increase in the number of destinations where travelers can access without visa requirements.
According to the Henley Passport Index, governments across the world are increasingly scrapping visa requirements for mutual benefit and consequently improving their passport ranking.
Henley’s CEO Dr Jeurg Steffen states that entrepreneurs and businesses people have leveraged visa free access to enter key markets in the world and thus expanding their networks.
“Visa-policy is a significant lever that governments can use to positively impact and improve their passport’s power, making it even more attractive for foreign investors seeking citizenship or residence by investment opportunities,” Dr Steffen stated.
The new rankings come amid efforts to actualize the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) which is aimed at enabling free movement of goods and people within the continental.
African leaders have in the recent past been vocal about the urgent need for countries to scrap visa free requirements in the continent with the aim of boosting intra-African trade.