London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners has released its first 2022 report on the world’s most powerful and least powerful passports. The firm’s Henley Passport Index measures the ease with which holders of passports are able to freely move from one country to another.
The ranking by Henley Passport Index is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.
The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations. Updated quarterly, the Henley Passport Index is the most robust and reliable index of its kind. It ranks the world’s passports according to the countries their holders can visit without a prior visa
If no visa is required, then a score with a value = 1 is created for that passport. The same applies if one can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) when entering the destination.
According to the Henley Passport Index, there is a widening gap between the global north and global south when it comes to travel freedoms. The report notes that the widening gap has been occasioned by coronavirus pandemic restrictions imposed by countries as a way to contain the spread of the virus. The gap in global mobility is the widest in the index’s 16-year history.
The Henley Passport Index however does not take into account current travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below are the 10 most powerful passports in Africa for 2022
Seychelles’ passport remains the most powerful on the African continent for a consecutive year while moving up one place in a global ranking. Globally, Seychelles ranks 28th, moving up one place from the 29th position in 2021. Seychelles’ passport holders can travel to 152 countries visa-free.
Mauritius’ passport is the second most powerful passport in Africa and ranked 31st globally. Mauritius passport holders can travel to 146 countries visa-free.
South Africa came in third. The rainbow nation placed 51st globally and the country’s passport holders can travel to 104 countries.
Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is ranked 60 from its previous position of 62 in 2021. It is ranked fourth in Africa. Botswana passport holders can travel to 86 destinations without a prior visa.
Ranked 66, Namibia has the fifth most powerful passport in Africa. A former German colony, Namibian passport holders can visit 78 countries without a visa.
A landlocked country encircled by South Africa, Lesotho ranked sixth in Africa and 67 globally. Passport holders can visit 77 countries without a visa.
Formerly known as Swaziland, Eswatini is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is bordered by Mozambique to its northeast and South Africa to its north, west, and south. Its passport holders can visit 74 countries visa-free. It is ranked 69 on the index and seventh in Africa.
Malawi is defined by its topography of highlands split by the Great Rift Valley and Lake Malawi. Malawi is ranked 70 on the index and its passport holders can access 73 countries visa-free.
The power of Kenya’s passport has declined over the years. From ranking 52 in 2006, the East African nation is now ranked 71 while its passport holders can visit 72 countries without a prior visa.
Tanzania is an East African country known for its vast wilderness areas such as the plains of Serengeti National Park and Kilimanjaro National Park. It has the 10th most powerful passport in Africa. Ranked 71 globally, holders of its passport can access 72 countries without a visa.