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Top 12 Most Powerful African Passports in 2024

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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For African travelers and expatriates, the power of their nation’s passport, is a crucial concern. However, according to the 2024 Henley Passport Index report, the African Passport currently holds limited power and economic mobility.

Conversely, the Henley Passport Index Report stands out as a distinctive publication featuring insights from leading scholars and experts who analyze major trends influencing global mobility patterns.

Picture Source- Henley&Partners

Rooted in geopolitical analysis, the report explores the link between visa-free access and economic progress, shifting power dynamics.

Recently, Henley & Partners unveiled the 2024 rankings, revealing passport strength based on visa-free access using IATA data.

Also, The Henley Index assesses the visa-free access of 199 passports to 227 travel destinations. Scores were assigned based on whether a passport requires a visa, allows visa on arrival (VOA), visitor’s permit, or electronic travel authority (ETA) when entering a destination. The total score for each equals the number of destinations for which no visa is required.

Furthermore, Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners, notes a widening global mobility gap, breaking down the latest data and insights.

Therefore Today, we will list top 12 of the most powerful passports in Africa in 2024, according to the index

Here are the 12 most powerful African Passport in 2024

Seychelles (156 destinations)

Firstly, the Seychellois African passport maintains its prominent position in the African standings, currently ranked 26th in the world.

Holders enjoy visa-free entry to 156 destinations. Also, it is issued to citizens of Seychelles for international travel.

Overall, the front cover of the passport proudly displays the coat of arms of Seychelles.

Notably, it features content in two languages, French and English, reflecting the multicultural and bilingual nature of Seychelles.

Mauritius (150 destinations)

Then, the Mauritius passport continues to maintain its impressive global ranking, currently standing at 30th in the world.

Holders of the it enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 149 countries worldwide. These are issued under the Passport Act of 14 February 1969, with details of their issuance governed by the Passport Regulations of 1969.

According to these regulations, provisions are made for extending the validity period.

However, once a passport expires, there is no renewal. Instead, individuals must submit a new application to the Immigration Office.

Notably, as of 2007, the Immigration Office in Mauritius processed an average of 434 passport applications each day.

South Africa (108 destinations)

Then, as a prominent player in the region, South Africa holds the 53rd position globally in 2024, providing passport holders access to 108 destinations without requiring a visa.

The South African passport serves as a valid proof of citizenship document in accordance with South African nationality law.

In 2023, South African citizens had visa-free access to 102 countries, potentially requiring pre-travel registration in some destinations.

Now, the number has increased to 108 countries, as indicated by the Visa Restrictions Index.

Issued by the South African Department of Home Affairs, South African passports are governed by the South African Travel Documents Act (Act 4 of 1994) Travel Documents Regulations of 1996.

These regulations outline the procedures and requirements for obtaining and using South African passports.

Botswana (91 destinations)

The Botswana passport maintains its strong standing at the 59th position globally, providing citizens with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 91 destinations.

Also issued by the Division of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration, and Gender Affairs, it serves as travel documents for international travel.

Initially on March 8, 2010, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship started the issuance of electronic passports to the general public. All non-electronic Botswana passports expired on December 31, 2011.

Overall, the Botswana passport, featuring 48 pages, is written in both English and French. The first page showcases a map of Botswana superimposed with images of wildlife, reflecting the country’s rich biodiversity.

Lesotho (80 destinations)

Lesotho’s passport holds a global ranking of 56th in 2024, offering African passport holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 80 destinations. This positioning echoes the significance of the Lesotho passport as a valuable travel document for its citizens.

Namibia (80 destinations)

Namibia’s passport holds the 56th position globally in 2024, offering African holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry to 80 destinations.

These travel documents are issued to citizens of Namibia by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration for international travel.

Conversely, Namibian passports are easily identifiable by their green color, featuring the national coat of arms prominently displayed on the front cover.

The inscription “REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA” appears above the coat of arms.

Additionally, the “Biometric” logo is positioned above indicating the use of biometric technology in these travel documents.

eSwatini (78 destinations)

Swaziland’s passport is positioned at the 66th position globally in 2024, enabling its citizens to visit 78 destinations without the need for a visa or through visa-on-arrival arrangements.

This ranking reflects its significance in facilitating international travel for Swazi citizens.

Kenya (76 destinations)

Kenya’s passport has gained recent popularity, securing the 67th spot globally and offering holders the privilege of visa-free travel to 76 destinations.

Initialy issued to Kenyan citizens in line with the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, and the Kenya Citizens and Immigration Act that commenced on August 30, 2011, the issuance process is regulated by Legal Notice No. 64, known as the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations, 2012.

Also, eligible individuals can apply for a New, Renewal or Replacement Passport through the Department of Immigration, which operates under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.

Kenyan passports hold additional significance as they are commonly used as a form of identification and are often rated as second only to the Kenyan national ID card.

Malawi (76 destinations)

Malawi passport stands at the 67th ranking position globally and can enjoy visa-free travel to 76  destinations. 

Tanzania (73 destinations)

Tanzanian passports secure the 69th position globally, rounding off the top ten rankings in 2024.

Holders benefit from visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 73 countries, enhancing the convenience of international travel.

The Tanzanian passport is exclusively issued to citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania for international travel, with the Immigration Department overseeing the issuance process.

Also, the Immigration Department operates under the Tanzanian Ministry of Home Affairs (In Kiswahili: Wizara ya Mambo ya Ndani ya Nchi).

Additionally, Tanzanian passports come in three types: Ordinary, Service, and Diplomatic.

Notably, starting in January 2018, Tanzania began issuing the new East African format ePassport, aligning with the integration plans of the East African Community.

Morocco(71 destinations)

Moroccan passports secure the 71st position globally, placing them at number 11 in the rankings.

Holders benefit from visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 71 countries, making international travel more accessible.

These passports are issued to nationals and citizens of Morocco specifically for the purpose of international travel.

In addition to serving as proof of Moroccan citizenship, they facilitate the process of seeking assistance from Moroccan consular officials abroad when needed.

Notably, since December 15, 2009, a biometric passport has been made available for all new applicants, allowing Moroccan citizens to apply for one conveniently and from anywhere.

Tunisia(71 destinations)

Tunisian passports are positioned at number 12, holding the 71st ranking globally in 2024.

Holders enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 71 countries, facilitating international travel. There are three main types of Tunisian passports:

-Regular (green): Issued to citizens for international travel, with a validity of 5 years.

-Special (burgundy) (passeport spécial): Issued to Tunisians traveling on official business.

-Diplomatic (navy blue) : Issued to Tunisian diplomats and their eligible relatives.

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Peremoboere Numa
Peremoboere Numa

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