The Kenyan Passport has held steady to maintain its position among the top 10 most powerful passports in Africa featuring at position 9 within the continent and position 73 globally. In last year’s ranking, Kenya also featured in ninth position.
The Henley Passport Index which bases its findings on data obtained from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), country policy and information mined from reliable online sources ranks the Japanese passport as the strongest globally and the Seychellois passport the strongest in Africa at position 28.
The Henley Passport Index Q1 2021 Global Ranking shows that a person bearing a Kenyan passport can visit 72 countries out of 218 without a visa which is a marginal improvement from last year when a person owning the document could visit 71 countries without the document.
In this year’s ranking, Kenya ranks behind Seychelles (28), Mauritius (31), South Africa (54), Botswana (62), Namibia (68), Lesotho (69), eSwatini (71) and Malawi (72).
This is compared to last year’s ranking which read; Seychelles (29), Mauritius (32), South Africa(56), Botswana (62), Namibia (67), Lesotho (69),eSwatini (70),Malawi (71).
This year, Tanzania (74), Tunisia (74), Zambia (74), Gambia (75) and Uganda (76) form the next five African countries that trail Kenya in the list.
On the global front, Japan retained its position as the most powerful passport in the world for the third year in a row. Owners of Japanese passports can visit 191 countries across the world without a visa.
Japan (1), Singapore (2), Germany (3), South Korea(3), Finland (4), Italy (4), Luxembourg(4), Spain (4) , Austria (5), Denmark (5), France(6), Ireland (6), Netherlands(6), Portugal (6), Sweden (6), Belgium (7), New Zealand (7), Norway (7), Switzerland (7), United Kingdom (7), United States (7), Australia (8), Czech Republic (8), Greece (8), Malta (8), Canada (9) and Hungary (10) are ranked as the most powerful passports in the world.
According to the Henley Index, with the US and the UK still facing significant challenges related to the virus, and the passport strength of both countries continuing to steadily erode, the balance of power is shifting.
Over the past seven years, the US passport has fallen from the number one spot to 7th place, a position it currently shares with the UK.
Due to pandemic-related travel constraints, travelers from both the UK and the US currently face major restrictions from over 105 countries, with US passport holders able to travel to fewer than 75 destinations, while UK passport holders currently have access to fewer than 70.
In a press statement, Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, The Chairman of leading residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, says that the latest ranking provides an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary upheaval that characterized 2020.
“Just a year ago all indications were that the rates of global mobility would continue to rise, that travel freedom would increase, and that holders of powerful passports would enjoy more access than ever before. The global lockdown negated these glowing projections, and as restrictions begin to lift, the results from the latest index are a reminder of what passport power really means in a world upended by the pandemic,” he said.
The report further notes, ” With the first Covid-19 vaccine approved just over a month ago, airline industry experts believe that mandatory vaccination before air travel may soon be a necessity. A technological innovation scheduled to launch in Q1 2021 that will contribute to restoring global mobility is IATA’s Travel Pass initiative — a mobile application that enables travelers to store and manage their verified certifications for Covid-19 tests or vaccines,”