In 2020, travels declined due to the Covid-19 pandemic which saw many countries implement lockdowns, travel restrictions, and border closures among others.
The pandemic also had an impact on the power of passports all over the world as countries ban people holding certain passports from entering their jurisdiction or put in tight measures before allowing people to enter their borders.
According to the Henley Passport Index, other issues considered during the ranking include governance and political matters. This contributed to the decline of the power of passports in countries like the UK and the USA.
A significant number of UK citizens for instance are applying for a second EU passport after the Brexit vote.
The Henley Passport Index is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information and enhanced by ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.
Globally Japan maintained the number one position of the most powerful passport while in Africa, South Africa takes the top spot.
Find below Africa’s most powerful passports in 2021
1. South Africa
South Africa is number one in Africa and 54 globally in the 2021 index. The country’s position on the index has been fluctuating. It debuted at the 37th position on the index. South African passport holders can visit 101 countries without a prior visa.
Globally Botswana ranked 62 and is second in Africa. Holders of Botswana’s passport can travel to 85 countries without a visa.
The landlocked country is ranked 68 worldwide and number three in Africa. A Namibian passport holder can visit 77 countries with no prior notice.
The country encircled by South Africa is the fourth most powerful passport in Africa and 69th globally. A Lesotho passport holder can visit 76 countries without a visa.
The Southern Africa country is 71st on the global rank. Its passport holders can travel to 74 countries without a visa.
Malawi is ranked 72 on the index. Its passport holders can access 73 countries without a visa.
The East African country ranked 73 on the global list. However, the power of the Kenyan passport has declined over the years. From ranking 52 in 2006 to now ranking 73. It has visa free arrangements with 72 countries.
The home of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro ranked 74 on the global index. Its passport holders can access 71 countries without a visa.
The North African country is also ranked 74 on the index. Its passport holders can visit 71 destinations without a prior visa.
Zambia is also ranked 74 on the index. A Zambian passport holder can travel to 71 countries without a visa.