Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi recently issued a decree to allocate new swathes of land to the Armed Forces, doing little to fend off ... intensifying criticism against the military’s deeply entrenched economic involvement as the North African nation’s financial woes mount.
By Conrad Onyango – bird Newsroom
Over the past 18 months, African passports holders have been granted visa-free access to more countries than ever before, a trend which may be surprising, given the increased travel barriers to contain the deadly Covid-19 virus.
“The global mobility gap is at its widest point ever and continues to expand due to proliferating barriers to entry erected since the outbreak of the pandemic,” said Henley and Partners, in their 2021 Passport Index, released
Holders of African passports can now travel to more than three-quarters of all countries of the world without the requirement of a visa.
The article continues below
Get your free PDF: Top 200 banks 2019
The race to transform
Complete the form and download, for free, the highlights from The Africa Report’s Exclusive Ranking of Africa’s top 200 banks from last year. Get your free PDF by completing the following form
The island nations of Seychelles and Mauritius, alongside South Africa, rank among the top five countries with the most powerful passports in Africa respectively. According to the index, they led their peers in defying pandemic-induced travel restrictions.
The Seychelles passport ranked 29th globally offers holders access to 153 countries, Mauritius ranked 33rd (148 destinations) while South African passport holders enjoy travel freedom in 103 countries across the globe.
Compared to the Index’s 2020 edition, the three countries have added two more countries each on their visa-free destinations.
According to the Henley Passport index 2021, advanced economies like UK and US still have stricter restrictions to international movement including frequent changes on ‘safe list’ countries even as they contemplate a return to business as usual.
“Ongoing requirements for expensive tests and quarantine periods are throwing significant obstacles in the way of international travellers,” said Hannah White, Deputy Director of the UK’s Institute for Government, in a comment published by the index.
Botswana (77 destinations) and Namibia (76 destinations) ranked fourth and fifth to round out the top five most powerful African passports. They added a jurisdiction each over the last year, giving holders more freedom to travel the world.
Even some of the lowest-ranked African countries with access to less than 50 countries (like Sudan, with 41) and Somalia (with 34) added countries (one each) to their lists of visa-free destinations, during the period.
The index relies exclusively on data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The index can be found here.
bird story agency
Understand Africa's tomorrow... today
We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.View subscription options