A recent report by Henley & Partners, a global leader in residence and citizenship by investment, sheds light on the significant disparities in passport power and economic mobility across African nations. The report, which ranks all 199 passports in the world based on their Henley Passport Power score, reveals that Africa as a whole possesses limited passport power, hindering economic opportunities and global travel for its citizens.
In today’s interconnected world, the value of a country’s passport extends beyond its symbolic worth. A strong passport allows citizens to travel, work, study, and explore the world with greater ease, offering a wide range of options. While different countries may assign varying scores to their passports, the undeniable advantages of holding a strong passport cannot be overlooked.
One of the key benefits of a robust passport is the ability to visit multiple nations without the need for a visa or obtaining one upon arrival. This not only expands opportunities for leisure, commerce, and cross-cultural interaction but also saves time and effort for travelers.
According to the Africa Wealth Report 2023, published by Henley & Partners, certain African countries enjoy higher economic mobility due to the strength of their passports. However, the report highlights a significant disparity between nations, particularly those in Africa’s wealthiest regions, which have limited passport power and restricted economic mobility.
The Henley Passport Power score provides a comprehensive assessment of a country’s passport strength by considering the number of visa-free travel destinations available and the cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) of those nations. The report emphasizes that residents of the richest African nations have extremely low passport power, as evidenced by their limited access to visa-free travel destinations and their negligible contribution to the global GDP.
To showcase the contrasting scenarios, the report highlights the case of Nigeria. While Nigerians can travel to 46 destinations without requiring a visa, representing 20% of worldwide destinations, these countries account for only approximately 2% of the global GDP. This stark reality illustrates the limited passport power and economic mobility faced by residents of Africa’s wealthiest nations.
However, the report also identifies several African countries that exhibit remarkable levels of passport power and economic mobility. Based on the visa-free score provided in the report, the following ten nations rank among the leaders in this category:
- Seychelles – Visa-free score: 153, Global Rank: 29th
- Mauritius – Visa-free score: 146, Global Rank: 32nd
- South Africa – Visa-free score: 106, Global Rank: 54th
- Botswana – Visa-free score: 86, Global Rank: 62nd
- Namibia – Visa-free score: 78, Global Rank: 66th
- Lesotho – Visa-free score: 77, Global Rank: 67th
- eSwatini – Visa-free score: 74, Global Rank: 69th
- Malawi – Visa-free score: 73, Global Rank: 70th
- Kenya – Visa-free score: 72, Global Rank: 71st
- Tanzania – Visa-free score: 71, Global Rank: 72nd