Shipping & Logistics

Kenyan passport drops in mobility score on Covid

passport

A Kenyan passport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The mobility score measures the number of countries that a person holding the Kenya’s passport can visit without having a visa or the nations where they can get visa on arrival.
  • The coronavirus has seen the number of countries that Kenyans can visit drop from 74 last year to 61 in the review period.
  • The Kenyan passport has also slid from being the seventh most powerful in Africa in 2020 to 11 position at the moment.

Kenya’s passport lost 13 positions on the mobility score as the devastating effects of the Covid-19 lowered its strength globally, according to Henley Passport Index Report.

The mobility score measures the number of countries that a person holding the Kenya’s passport can visit without having a visa or the nations where they can get visa on arrival.

The coronavirus has seen the number of countries that Kenyans can visit drop from 74 last year to 61 in the review period.

The Kenyan passport has also slid from being the seventh most powerful in Africa in 2020 to 11 position at the moment.

The pandemic saw global travel industry brought to a halt for some time, when countries imposed lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus, leading to the closure of borders.

The Passport Index report 2021 indicates that Kenya emerged 11th on the continent ranking behind Seychelles, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, Namibia, Tunisia and Swaziland among other African states.

On overall global ranking, Kenya became position 53, which is a one-step decline from last year’s number 52

A Kenyan can visit 29 countries without the visa and they can obtain visa on arrival in 30 countries. Some of the countries that Kenyans can access without visa or get one on arrival include Singapore, Hong Kong, Jamaica and Fiji among others.

In Eastern African region, Kenya defeated all its peers with Ethiopia, arguably the fasted growing economy in the region ranking position 73.

Kenya rolled out new chip-embedded passports for its citizens in a move that targets rampant forgery and impersonation of holders. The new features are meant to make it impossible for anyone to forge or duplicate a Kenyan passport.

Roll-out of the e-passports with a 10- year validity period marked the beginning of the end of the ‘analogue’ passports that have been in use since Independence and has seen join 60 other countries that use e-passports.

A recent survey by the African continental body showed East Africa tops in free movement of people in the region, affirming the gains of an open visa scheme for the continent aimed at spurring trade and tourism.

The liberalised visa regime was set up to promote more open borders across the continent and to boost trade, security and Africa-wide integration. It has been widely publicised, with the African Union Commission voicing the need for countries to follow Kenya’s example.

Kenya is driving integration within the East African Community, with the announcement that citizens from Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda can move freely with their identity cards, work, do business and own property on an equal basis.