According to the Henley Passport Index, there are countries in Africa that have visa-free access to more countries than others. These countries are said to have the most powerful passports in Africa. Citizens of these countries enjoy similar travel rights as Europeans while citizens of countries with the least powerful passports still grovel to be granted entry into other countries.
Newly released statistics from the Henley Passport Index 2020 show an overall drop in the value of African passports over the years compared to other continents. However, Seychelles, Mauritius and South Africa have maintained their stance as the first, second and third most powerful passports in Africa over the years.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has continued to suffer the worst decline and is one of the least powerful passports in the continent, granting visa-free access to only 46 destination countries. Even though according to statistics, the country has taken over South Africa as Africa’s Largest Economy, its citizens can only travel to less than half of the number of nations that South African Passport holders can travel to.
Seychelles Passport’s strength may be attributed to the fact that the Island is a visa-free country, having no requirements for travelers wishing to visit.
Passport strength decline may be attributed to conflict, political instability and security fears- which Nigeria faces, as well as the fact that these countries are not permitting visa-free travel for visitors from other countries.
Without further ado, let us get to the top 12 countries with the most powerful passports in Africa.
Seychelles also known as the Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean which is to the east of the African continent. The country ranks 29th on the world’s ranking of strongest passports and permits citizens to have visa-free entry into 151 countries.
Seychellois culture is a perfect blend of English, African and French influences with a side dish of Indian and Chinese elements. Seychelles does not share borders with any other country.
Officially called the Republic of Mauritius, Mauritius is an island nation also located in the Indian Ocean. Popularly known for its beaches, the island nation ranks 32nd on Henley’s Passport Index Global ranking and its passport holders can visit 146 countries visa-free.
The capital city of the island nation is Port Lois. Although Hinduism is the widely professed religion in Mauritius, it is known for its high degree of religious tolerance.
Located in the southernmost part of Africa, South Africa is a country that grants its citizens visa-free access to 100 countries, which is why it ranks 56 on the World’s list of most powerful passports. The country is bordered by Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.
South Africa is a multiethnic society consisting of a wide range of cultures, languages, and religions. Being the largest country by landmass in Southern Africa, the country is home to over 58 million people.
Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Citizens of Botswana can visit a total of 84 countries visa-free because the country ranks 62nd on Henley’s Passport Index Global Ranking. The country has diverse wildlife and is home to Chobe National Park-the park having the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world.
English is the officially spoken language in Botswana, although Setswana is also widely spoken.
With a name that translates as “vast space”, Namibia is one of the least crowded countries in the world. It is a country in Southern Africa and is the first African Country to incorporate environmental protection into its constitution. The country is known to have the highest number of Cheetahs.
Namibia ranks 67th on Henley’s Passport Index Global Ranking. It allows its citizens travel to 76 countries visa-free. The country is bordered by Angola to the North, Zambia to the Northeast, Botswana to the East, South Africa to the Southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the West.
Lesotho officially called the Kingdom of Lesotho is a territory within the border of South Africa. Lesotho ranks 69th on the World’s List of most powerful passports making it possible for citizens of the country to visit 74 countries without a visa. The country is geographically surrounded by South Africa and its economy is integrated with that of South Africa.
The country’s population is about 95% Christian and Sesotho is its officially spoken Language.
eSwatini also known as Swaziland and officially called Kingdom of eSwatini is a small country in Southern Africa. English is one of the country’s official languages alongside siSwati.
Citizens of eSwatini can visit 73 other countries visa-free because the country ranks 70th on the World’s Ranking list.
Located in Southeastern Africa, Malawi ranks 71st on the Henley’s Passport Index Global Ranking. This is why valid passport holders of the country can be granted visa-free access to 72 countries. It is bordered by Zambia to the west, Tanzania to the North and Mozambique to the east, south, and southwest. Gaining independence in 1964, the country has gone through a series of changes. Though not so huge, these changes have been able to help the country become better.
Kenyan Passport holders can travel to71 other countries visa-free as the country is on the 72nd spot on the List of World’s most powerful passports. Kenya is the world’s 48th largest country by large mass and is located in East Africa. The country which is characterized by beautiful landscape is home to the second-highest mountain in Africa- Mount Kenya. Because of its borders with the Indian Ocean, Asian and Arabian traders were able to come into the country and this marked the beginning of historic ties with them.
Tanzania is a country in East Africa that ranks 73rd on the list of the World’s most powerful passports alongside Zambia. Citizens of the country do not need a visa to travel to 70 countries. Tanzania is bordered by Uganda, Lake Victoria and Kenya to the North, the Indian Ocean to the East, Mozambique, Lake Nyasa, Malawi and Zambia to the South and Lake Tanganyika, Burundi and Rwanda to the west.
The country is home to 2 popular tourist destinations- Mount Kilimanjaro and The Serengeti.
Landlocked in Southen-Central Africa, Zambia is a country that holds the same spot as Tanzania on the Henley Passport Index Global Ranking. The country is home to River Zambezi and River Congo, 2 popular rivers in Africa.
Zambia is at the same spot with Tanzania on the list. Namibians can visit 70 countries visa-free.
The Gambia is referred to as the smallest country in Africa however it owns one of the most powerful passports in the continent ranking as the 75th strongest passport in the world. Citizens of the country can visit 68 countries without a visa.