The Henley & Partners agency released its annual report of the most powerful passports on January 10, based on IATA data.
In a ranking still dominated by Asian countries – Japan (1st), Singapore and South Korea (2nd tied) – it is Seychelles (29th with 153 points) and Mauritius (34th with 146 points) which can claim to have the most powerful African passports.
You then have to go down to 53rd place to find the next country on the black continent: South Africa. The most industrialized country in Africa is thus ahead of its neighbour, Botswana, which is in 63rd place.
Southern Africa is well represented, however, with Namibia ranking 67th, Lesotho 69th, and eSwatini 71st. Then follow a trio from East Africa: Malawi (72nd), Kenya (73rd) and Tanzania (74th).
The Zambian passport is the eleventh most powerful in Africa, at 75th place, followed by Tunisia (76th), Gambia (77th), Uganda (78th) and Zimbabwe (79th). Ghana and Morocco share 80th place, ahead of Sierra Leone in 81st position, Mozambique (82nd), Benin and Rwanda (83rd), Sao Tome and Principe (84th) and Mauritania (85th).
West African passports have more or less the same value, with Burkina Faso ranking 86th, ahead of Côte d’Ivoire , Gabon and Senegal (87th). Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Madagascar and Togo are in 88th position.
Some 21 African countries fall between 89th and 101st place (with the same number of points in most cases).
The least envious African passport is that of Somalia, which ranks 104th with 35 points. Seven points more than the least powerful passport in the world, of Afghanistan in 109th place.
The ranking is based on proprietary data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the travel information database. The Index’s scoring system was developed to give users a nuanced, practical and reliable insight into the power of their Passport.
Each passport is scored based on the total number of destinations its holder can access without a visa. For each travel destination, if no visa is required, a score of 1 is assigned to that passport. This also applies if passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival, a visit permit or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) on entry.
Where a visa is required, or where the passport holder must apply for a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) prior to departure, a score of 0 is assigned. The same applies if he needs to obtain pre-departure approval for a visa on arrival.