Namibia’s passport ranking rises 7 places

The Namibian passport is hanging onto its position as the fifth most powerful in Africa.

14 January 2022 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The Namibian passport now ranks at 66 in the latest Henley Passport Index, an important ranking of passport power; up from a ranking of 73 last year.

However, Namibian passports have not actually become more useful, as the number of visa-free countries Namibia has access to has remained the same at 78.

The index, which ranked 111 countries, outlines the number of countries travellers can visit without obtaining a visa prior to take-off.

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

The index does not take temporary restrictions into account, leaving actual current travel access aside.

The Namibian passport has hung onto its position as the fifth most powerful in Africa.

The other top-ranked African countries are Seychelles (28), Mauritius (31), South Africa (51) and Botswana (60).

No mean feat

Holding steady on the index is no mean feat, though. Henley this week reported the widest recorded global mobility gap since the index’s inception 17 years ago.

According to the index, over the past 15 years, freedom of movement has on average increased hugely. In 2006, the average world traveller could expect to be let in to 57 countries without prior approval by its government, but today that number is 107.

Namibia has increased its visa-free access by 37 destinations since 2006. Over the same period, South Africa gained access to 39 destinations, Botswana to 38 and Mozambique increased its count by 40.

The most powerful passports in the world are Japan and Singapore, with access to 192 visa-free destinations each.

Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria hold the bottom three spots on the list, only being able to visit 26, 28 and 29 countries respectively.

The latest report noted that the appearance late last year of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 shone a light on a growing divide in international mobility between wealthier countries and poor ones, pointing towards the tough restrictions introduced against mainly African nations.

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