Updated: Jan 13, 2020
There are few things more enjoyable and satisfying than travel and a passport from a country in good standing globally is a very handy thing. It allows its holder to cross borders without going through the stress and bureaucracy that accompanies the visa application. A good passport empowers individuals to essentially embody global citizenship.
Global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners use data from the International Air Transport Association to determine how many destinations passport holders in every country can access without first obtaining a visa. The index is updated in real-time throughout the year to reflect visa-policy changes and recently, the firm released its quarterly report on the world’s most desirable passports.
With the world becoming a global village and countries forming alliances and strong relations, travelling is getting easier by the minute. In the report, some African countries are making impressive strides in international relations and it reflects in the rank of the passports. Here is a list of the top 5 African countries with the most powerful passports.
Ranking 68th worldwide, Namibia is the 5th most valuable passport in Africa with 75 visa-free destinations across the world. The Namibian passports are issued to citizens of Namibia to travel internationally. All information in the passport is printed in English with the photo page also translated into French. In March this year, the Ministry of Home Affairs reported a shortage of passports for applicants, but recent reports indicate that the shortage will be resolved by the end of November.
Botswana ranks 62nd in the world, making it the 4th most valuable African passport for the quarter. Holders of Botswanan passports have access to 82 visa-free including the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel and many others.
The South African passport ranks 3rd in Africa with a global ranking of 53. South African passport holders can go to 101 countries visa-free, countries including Malaysia, Kenya, South Korea, Ireland and many others. Up until recently, to apply for a South African passport, one had to fill an application form and bring the appropriate-sized photographs to ensure correct identification. Nowadays, photographs are captured onsite, as well as other biometrics. The only requirement for getting a passport is being a citizen.
The passport of the island country of Mauritius ranks 31st in the entire world, making it the 2nd most valuable passport in Africa. Holders of the passport have unrestricted visa-free travel to 145 destinations worldwide, more than two-thirds of the world. In 2018, the Prime Minister of Mauritius announced that foreigners now have the chance to obtain Mauritian citizenship in exchange for a non-refundable contribution of $1m (£757,400) to the national sovereign wealth fund, with the applicants’ spouses and dependents also eligible with an additional contribution of $100,000 per family member.
Island country Seychelles ranks 27th globally, making it the number 1 most valuable African passport for the quarter. With a whopping 151 visa-free destinations across the world, the passport is only issued to citizens of the country for identification purposes and also to enable them to travel to other countries and territories.