Economy

Countries banning Kenya passport holders fall to 43

passport

A Kenyan passport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The number of countries that holders of Kenya’s passport cannot access has dropped to 43 countries from 54 in July as countries ease travel restrictions in the wake of Covid-19 vaccines.
  • The Henley Passport Index, which has been regularly monitoring the world’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006, made the revelations in its quarter-four report, showing how countries are still keen to protect their citizens from new variants of coronavirus.
  • Taiwan, Sweden, Vatican City, South Korea, Singapore, Poland, Portugal, Australia, Argentina, Cambodia, Canada and Denmark top the list of countries that have banned or placed restrictions on holders of Kenyan passports.

The number of countries that holders of Kenya’s passport cannot access has dropped to 43 countries from 54 in July as countries ease travel restrictions in the wake of Covid-19 vaccines.

The Henley Passport Index, which has been regularly monitoring the world’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006, made the revelations in its quarter-four report, showing how countries are still keen to protect their citizens from new variants of coronavirus.

Taiwan, Sweden, Vatican City, South Korea, Singapore, Poland, Portugal, Australia, Argentina, Cambodia, Canada and Denmark top the list of countries that have banned or placed restrictions on holders of Kenyan passports.

Others are Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Chile, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Cameroon, which Henley & Partners lists as the only African country to place restrictions on Kenya.

A fortnight ago, the UK that was among the 54 countries that had banned travellers from Kenya to Britain, lifted the ban allowing fully vaccinated Kenyans to travel to the country without having to undergo mandatory quarantine.

The UK had placed Kenya in the red list of countries in April owing to the high level of detected cases locally.

The countries that have so far removed Kenya passport holders from the list of Covid-19 ban include Ireland and Bulgaria.

This comes at a time when Kenya has recorded a decline in Covid-19 infections while the number of admissions in health facilities is also falling.

The positivity rate — the proportion of tests coming back positive — climbed sharply by a double-digit from July, raising concerns among health officials.

The rate has dropped from 14.5 percent on August 15 to two percent yesterday as the government steps up testing and vaccination.

In Kenya, 1,055,093 people have been fully vaccinated up from 746,267 on August 14 while the number of those who have received the first jab has jumped to 4.21 million from two million over the same period.

The country has received several vaccine donations and procured some, with a target of inoculating 10 million Kenyans by next Christmas.

The Kenyan passport also lost its strength in Africa, dropping from the eleventh position to 12th in the review.

The Passport Index shows Kenya ranked behind Seychelles, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, Namibia, Tunisia, Tanzania and Swaziland, among other African states.

A Kenyan can visit 29 countries without a visa and obtain the entry document on arrival in 31 countries.

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 had been in use since independence and has since joined 60 other countries that use e-passports.