Kenyan passport weakens to position 73 in global rankings

Drops to position 73 from 71 last year.

In Summary

•The country's travel documents gives visa-free access to 73 destinations.

•It however remains the strongest in East Africa. 

An immigration staffer holds an e-passport at Nyayo House.
An immigration staffer holds an e-passport at Nyayo House.
Image: FILE

The Kenyan passport has dropped its position in the latest Henley Passport Index ranking, despite recent efforts by the government to secure more friendly bilateral ties which include visa-free travel.

The index released on Tuesday ranks Kenya's passport at position 73 globally, two steps drop from position 71 in the same period last year.

According to the ranking, which compares the strength of these passports based on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa, the country’s passport as of January this year gives visa-free access to 73 destinations.

It is a one destination improvement from last year.

Kenyan passport holders have access to an estimated 33 per cent of the world.

The research notes that a powerful passport is a channel to economic opportunity and well being.

“Far more than a travel document that defines our freedom of movement, a strong passport also provides significant financial freedoms in terms of international investment and business opportunities,” says the report.

Despite the weakening in global rankings, Kenya’s passport remains among Africa’s top ten in giving visa-free access.

It reached a visa-free agreement with South Africa in November last year.

Kenya is ranked  position seven in the continent after Malawi, Lesotho and Namibia which took positions six, five and four respectively.

Seychelles was the leading in the continent with visa-free access to 153 destinations.

Coming in second was Mauritius followed by South Africa in third with 146 and 106 destinations, respectively.

Compared to its East African Community (EAC) counterparts, Kenya's passport remains the strongest followed by Tanzania with 72 destinations.

Burundi’s and South Sudan’s are the weakest with 50 and 44 destinations, respectively.

According to the report, the top-ranking passport globally was the Japanese, giving visa-free access to 193 destinations, a representation of about 85 per cent of the world.

This collectively accounts for about 98 per cent of the global economy.

At the bottom of the ranking is the Afghanistan passport which provides visa-free access to only 27 destinations, 12 per cent of the world and less than one per cent of the global economic output.

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