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REVEALED: Africa’s top 20 most powerful passports

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Seychelles remains top of the rankings when it comes to the most powerful passports in Africa, a position it has held for years now.

The Henley Passport Index ranks passport from Seychelles as number one on the African continent.

The index looks at passports of 199 countries globally and remains the most authoritative passport index with historical data spanning for about fourteen years.

It is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.

“The general trend over the history of the 18-year-old ranking has been towards greater travel freedom, with the average number of destinations travellers are able to access visa-free nearly doubling from 58 in 2006 to 109 in 2023,” Henley & Partners said in a statement.

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The index for 2023 however ranks Seychelles 24th globally with the country’s access to Visa free destinations put at 155.

Mauritius came 2nd followed by South Africa 3rd, Botswana  4th and Namibia at the 5th position.

Passports remain the internationally accepted identity document used for travels.

According to Henley & Partners, besides democracy, political fragility, security and reciprocity,  income is a reliable predictor of passport strength.

“Countries that have higher gross domestic product (GDP) per capita according to World Bank data also enjoy more visa-free destinations,” the firm said.

Here is the list of the top 20 most powerful passports in Africa for 2023

  1. Seychelles: No. 24 globally – destinations: 155
  2. Mauritius: No. 29 globally – destinations: 148
  3. South Africa: No. 52 globally – destinations: 106
  4. Botswana: No. 60 globally – destinations: 89
  5. Namibia: No. 64 globally – destinations: 80
  6. Lesotho: No. 65 globally – destinations: 79
  7. Eswatini: No. 67 globally – destinations: 77
  8. Kenya: No. 68 globally – destinations: 76
  9. Malawi: No. 69 globally – destinations: 75
  10. Tanzania: No. 70 globally – destinations: 73
  11. Tunisia, Zambia tie: No. 71 globally – destinations: 71
  12. Gambia: No. 72 globally – destinations: 70
  13. Uganda: No. 73 globally – destinations: 69
  14. Morocco, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe: No. 74 globally – destinations: 67
  15. Cape Verde: No. 75 globally – destinations: 66
  16. Ghana: No. 76 globally – destinations: 65
  17. Mozambique, Rwanda tie: No. 77 globally – 63 destinations

Global rankings of passports

Singaporean passport however remains the most powerful travel document in the world, granting access to 192 out of 227 countries globally.

“The top-ranked Singapore is able to access 165 more destinations visa-free than [the lowest-ranked] Afghanistan,” Henley & Partners said in a statement.

Singapore is followed by passports from Germany, Italy, Spain all jointly occupying the second spot.

Austria, Finland, France , Japan, Luxembourg, South Korea, and Sweden tie in third position, with 189 destinations each.

The United Kingdom’s passport allows access to 188 countries, placing it at fourth position globally alongside the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland.

“The index is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – the largest, most accurate travel information database – and enhanced by Henley & Partners’ research team,” the group said in a statement.
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