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Henley Index: 5 Most Powerful African Passports that Open Doors to Many Countries Across the World

Global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners Citizens has released a third-quarter update to the initial 2019 report.

This quarterly report looks at how desirable passports are based on the number of countries that welcome them without a visa during the second half of the year.

Abroad, Japan and Singapore remain the most powerful passport in the world as they grant visa-free access to 189 countries.

What are the best African passports to hold midway through 2019?

Here in Africa, Seychelles maintains its position as the best travel document to hold. With it, travellers can easily enter over 100 countries, 150 to be exact.


Seychelles is still the best African passport to hold midway through 2019 (henleypassportindex)
Seychelles is still the best African passport to hold midway through 2019 (henleypassportindex)

Mauritius follows in second place, offering users access to 145 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa. South Africa is in third place with visa-free entry to 99 nations.

Despite retaining its position as Africa’s third most desirable passport, South Africa has gone down from its 53rd global rank earlier this year to its current 54th position.

This is probably due to the fact that it now grants visa-free entry to only 99 countries as opposed to what it used to offer - 101 nations.

Botswana maintains its place as the fourth most powerful passport in Africa with its 82nd global rank.

Namibia also holds its position as the fifth best African travel document (68th global rank). Earlier this year, it offered visa-free access to only 75 countries. It now has 76 visa-free destinations.

African passports remain some of the least desirable travel documents in the world


Despite maintaining most of their initial 2019 rankings, the majority of African passports are still ranked really low on the index.

Here are the five weakest African passports in Q3 2019:

  • Somalia

Global ranking - 105 (It dropped two places)

Visa-free access to 31 countries (lost one nation)


Henley Passport Index Q3 update (henleypassportindex)
Henley Passport Index Q3 update (henleypassportindex)
  • Libya

Global ranking - 103 (dropped from 97th)

Visa-free access to 37 countries (used to offer entry to 41 nations)

  • Sudan

Global ranking - 103 (dropped from 99th)

Visa-free access to 37 countries (lost two countries)

  • Eritrea

Global ranking - 101 (dropped from 100 earlier this year)

Visa-free access to 39 destinations (now offers entry to one more country)

  • South Sudan

Global ranking - 97 (dropped from 99)

Visa-free access to 42 countries (added an extra destination)

Overall, African passports are some of the biggest fallers on the Henley Passport Index from 2009 to 2019.


Henley Passport Index Q3 update (henleypassportindex)Henley Passport Index Q3 update (henleypassportindex)

Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger and Senegal have all dropped drastically over the past decade.


Written by How Africa

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