Even on the same hand, all fingers are not equal and just the same way, all African passports are not equal. Some African passports are so much more powerful than the rest and a new ranking by financial firm “Arton Capital” has given us a clear picture of what is what. No doubt, travel is one aspect of the human race that has been an intricate part of life for centuries. Though the travels were done for migration purposes with crude means of transportation usually by foot, boat or carriages; in those times there was no need for a visa to grant one entrance into other territories.
Now, people from all over the world travel for different reasons, ranging from business, pleasure and also migration in search for greener pastures. The only change here is in the demand for a document which grants foreigners or visitors access into another country for whatever reasons and duration of stay. This document is widely known is the “Visa.” From country to country, the strength of the visa determines the number of countries people can visit outside their homeland.
While some countries have a stronger visa, other country’s visa happens to be less authoritative. Sadly, the passport strength of most African countries is presumably low as when compared with the passport strength of other countries. This is usually as a result of the desire for most people of African descent to seek a better life outside their home country which could be ravaged by poverty, ethnic wars, diseases, bad governance or corruption. This has made other wealthy nations apprehensive of people from such countries coming into their territories for the fear of either overpopulating their own country or taking jobs reserved for legitimate citizens.
As already established, African passport holders do find it difficult to travel to any region in the world. To compound this issue, Africans seeking to travel to other African countries also have this problem, that is why the African Union has been pushing for a borderless Africa that will allow visa-free travel and looser border requirements among African Nations.
To date, Rwanda, Ghana, and Benin have scrapped visa requirements for other Africans stating personal reasons.
There is still a long way to go to achieve the borderless Africa, in the meantime, however, people who hold passports from Seychelles, Mauritius, and South Africa are at the very top of the list when considering good passports while Nigerians, Ethiopians, and Somalians are sure to find travelling far more stressful.
The ranking of African passports was based on the number of countries the passport will allow its holder visit without a visa or how many countries will allow the holder of the passport obtain a visa on arrival.
With a Seychelles passport for instance, one is enabled to travel to 126 countries that include finicky countries like the United Kingdom, France, and China. Some of these countries will let people in visa free, allowing them to get a visa on arrival or even just settle for an electronic travel authorization.
Of course, to be allowed that much freedom in other countries, Seychelles is itself a very open country. It does not require anyone to present visas regardless of nationality. Visitors are simply given a visitors permit on arrival.
Here is Arton Capital’s ranking of most powerful African passports;
- Seychelles – 126
- Mauritius – 118
- South Africa – 90
- Botswana – 69
- Lesotho – 66
- Malawi – 65
- Swaziland – 64
- Namibia – 64
- Kenya – 64
- Gambia – 63
- Cape Verde – 63
- Tanzania – 62
For the other side of the coin, here is Arton Capital’s ranking of least powerful African passport;
- Congo – 43
- Equatorial Guinea – 43
- Burundi – 42
- Nigeria – 41
- Djibouti – 40
- DRC – 39
- Libya – 37
- Eritrea – 36
- Sudan – 36
- South Sudan – 34
- Ethiopia – 34
- Somalia – 30
From Arton Capital’s ranking, Somalia’s passport seems to have the worst visa score of the bunch. The Somalian passport enables its holder to travel to only 30 countries in total. While this is not so bad, it can be better. Nevertheless, in a general global passport ranking of 193 countries, African passports continue to rank in the bottom half of the list which is not encouraging either. Hopefully, the image of African countries would improve in order to give her citizens the liberty to visit more countries of their choice especially when they have the means to do so.