Southern Hemisphere African Countries Dominate Most Powerful Passports on the Continent

South African Passport

The latest passport power rankings, the Henley Passport Index, which measures which passports are the most powerful out there based on the countries its holders can enter without prior visa approval, have come out.

Asian countries have emerged as the winners with Japan and Singapore topping the list. African passports, on the other hand, have mainly stayed in the bottom portion of the rankings, where only two African countries – Seychelles and Mauritius — are in the top 50.

Even when we look at African region alone, apart from Kenya, every other country amongst the top ten where from the southern hemisphere of the continent. That said African countries still have a lot of work to do in making travelling easier for their citizens.

African Passports Ranked

Most of the countries, which have been at the bottom of the ranking have been in unstable political situations over the years. According to Paddy Blewer, Group PR Director at Henley & Partners, “I think it’s fair to say that there’s been a fairly solid group at the bottom who have rather unfortunate situations in terms of in or around their area. [...] Those countries are consistently close or at the bottom, depending on geopolitical specifics. In general, countries that are at the end of the index have deep challenges as regards to sovereignty, geopolitical issues and democratic deficits, rule of law, that sort of issue.”

African Passport Power Ranking Mapped

Africa’s biggest economy and one of its most influential, Nigeria, is at the end of the travel freedom spectrum, at a pitiful number 95 with Djibouti. Nigeria’s population of 200 million can only travel to 46 countries without obtaining a visa in advance, two fewer that they could in 2010. Over the past decade, the Nigerian passport has suffered the worst decline in the rankings with a 19 place drop.

The lowest-ranking African country is Somalia at 104 in the global ranking. Passport-holders from can only visit 32 countries without a pre-departure visa, faring only better than passport holders from the countries of Syria (29), Iraq (28) and Afghanistan (26).

African Passport Power Rankings

Add comment