Namibian passport remains powerful

03 August 2020 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Despite global travel grinding to a near halt, the latest results from the Henley Passport Index shows that the Namibian passport has hung onto its position as the fifth most powerful in Africa.

Namibia ranked 67th out of 109 countries on the index that was released this week.

The index ranks countries on the basis of the number of places where citizens can travel without a visa.

It is based on information gathered throughout the year by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA).

The other top-ranked African countries were Seychelles, Mauritius, South Africa and Botswana. According to the index, Namibia has visa-free access to 77 countries, in comparison to Seychelles which enjoys visa-free access to 151 countries.

Namibia has moved up one place on the index since last year, when it was in 68th position globally.

Last year its passport was also ranked the fifth most powerful in Africa.

However, the Henley Passport Index pointed out that, given the current coronavirus pandemic, the index is actually defunct as so few can travel at the moment.

“The first ranking of the new decade published in January this year conclusively confirmed that overall, people were the most globally mobile that we had ever been in the history of humankind,” Henley & Partners said in a statement.

“Just three months later, the picture looks very different indeed. With 3.5 billion people, nearly half the global population, presently living in voluntary or mandatory confinement, the latest results from the index raise challenging questions about what travel freedom and global mobility really mean, both currently and in a deeply uncertain post-pandemic future.”

The chairman of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the index, Dr Christian Kaelin, pointed out that in an unprecedented global health emergency such as this, relative passport strength becomes temporarily meaningless.

Nevertheless, on the latest index Japan retains its top spot with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 191.

In second place was Singapore with a visa-free score of 190.

In joint third place were Germany and South Korea with a score of 189.

Three countries are in fourth place with 188 destinations, namely Italy Finland and Spain. Denmark and Austria (187 destinations) are in joint fifth place.

The least mobile destinations are Iraq and Afghanistan, with only 28 and 26 free destinations respectively to choose from.

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