Kenya’s passport is the eighth most powerful in Africa, according to a new research that shows the country has, however, slipped down three places compared to the previous years.
The ranking by Henley & Partners, a citizenship and planning firm, takes into account how many countries can be visited without applying for a visa.
Kenya citizens can travel to 71 countries without visas out of a possible 218, ranking behind Seychelles, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland
Globally, Kenya was in position 72, which is an improvement from last year’s 73, in a ranking that placed Japan on the top, with the Japanese citizens able to travel to a record 190 countries without visas.
“Kenya ranked 72nd in 2019 with 71 destination visa free access,” says the report that is produced in partnership with International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“As the world economy has become increasingly globalised, the need for greater visa-free access has grown steadily,” said the report.
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 was ahead of its peers with Ethiopia, arguably the fastest growing economy in the region, ranked among the bottom five in Africa.
Countries linked to terror networks like Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq were bottom of the pile, with their citizens requiring visas to access the majority of countries.
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.