Economy

Kenya’s passport eighth most powerful in Africa

passport

A Kenyan passport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya’s passport is now the eighth most powerful in Africa and 71 globally after its mobility score improved six places in the latest ranking.

The Henley Passport Index Report released on Monday shows that the number of countries that Kenyans can visit without a visa, or obtain it on arrival has increased to 72 from 64 in January last year.

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

Kenya emerged eighth, a spot that it shared with Tanzania in the latest ranking and behind Mauritius, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Seychelles and South Africa.

Last year, Kenya’s travel document had been placed at position 77 globally on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“…Covid-19 and its interplay with instability and inequality has highlighted and exacerbated the shocking disparity in international mobility between wealthy developed nations and their poorer counterparts,” said the report.

Uganda emerged position 76 with Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan coming in at number 82, 92 and 99 respectively, according to the report.

The mobility score, which is an initiative of Henley Passport Index had last year downgraded the strength of Kenya’s travel document on account of devastating effects of the Covid-19 that lowered the number of countries that one would visit without visa.

Japan and Singapore tied at position one with citizens of these countries able to visit 192 countries without visas. Germany emerged third in the global ranking.

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 joined 60 other countries that use new passports.