GLOBAL TRAVEL

Kenyan Passport remains ‘stable’ as virus infections rise

Kenya retained its 72nd position on the Henley Passport Index.

In Summary

• President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced that all international flights shall resume from August 1.

• The seemingly unaffected status of Kenya’s passport power could however take a dramatic turn if the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates of 122 million infections in the continent become a reality.

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

The Kenyan Passport has remained stable even as Coronavirus infections rise globally.

Kenya retained its 72nd position on the Henley Passport Index — the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa — with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 72 destinations.

The seemingly unaffected status of Kenya’s passport power could however take a dramatic turn if the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates of 122 million infections in the continent become a reality.

 

Kenya is the fourth most affected country in the East Africa region following Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia.

The most economically damaging measure has been the imposition of border and airspace closures to passenger traffic.

However, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced that all international flights shall resume from August 1.

The President also announced the resumption of local flights from July 15 under strict guidelines in the country's planned phased reopening.

The move comes after three months of suspension of all travels in and out of the country.

In a bid to keep its tourism industry afloat, the Kenyan government announced that it has reduced entrance fees to all game parks and game reserves for a period of a year from 1 July 2020.

Managing Partner and Head of South, East and Central Africa at Henley, Amanda Smit, said that although the full impact of the coronavirus on global mobility is yet to be determined, it is encouraging to see the resilience of the Kenyan passport up to this point.

“As restrictions are starting to ease, we are beginning to see more people paying careful attention to their own global mobility and evaluating their options for travel freedom and even residence," she said.

"The much-considered destinations are the ones which have effectively handled the coronavirus outbreak, and especially those which have declared themselves virus-free. International airline travel is still on halt, but it is to be expected that more people will look at various destinations to settle as soon as airspace is open.”

Last week the EU released a list of countries that would be allowed entry into the bloc from 1 July based on health and safety criteria.

Included were Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea that traditionally score highly on the Henley Passport Index.

 

But, in a move perceived as a stinging rebuke for its poor handling of the pandemic, the US was notably excluded from the welcome list, as were Brazil and Russia.