Kenyan passport power rises in global mobility ranking

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Kenyan passport power rises in global mobility ranking


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A Kenyan passport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya’s passport has strengthened to 72 on the mobility score, giving holders access to more than 70 countries without a visa or getting it on arrival.
  • The score measures the number of countries that a person holding the Kenya’s passport can visit without having a visa or the nations where they can get visa on arrival or can get it electronically.
  • The Kenyan passport maintained the ninth most powerful position in Africa from seventh initially.

Kenya’s passport has strengthened to 72 on the mobility score, giving holders access to more than 70 countries without a visa or getting it on arrival.

The mobility score, which is an initiative of Henley Passport Index Report 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 to as low as 64.

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

The Kenyan passport maintained the ninth most powerful position in Africa from seventh initially.

The Covid-19 pandemic saw global travel industry brought to a halt for some time last year, when countries imposed lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus, leading to the closure of borders, starting last year March.

The Passport Index report 2021 indicates that Kenya emerged 72 in global ranking, behind Seychelles, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, Namibia, Tunisia and Swaziland among other African states.

A Kenyan can visit 29 countries without the visa and can obtain the entry document on arrival in 30 countries. Some of the countries that Kenyans can access without visa or get one on arrival include Singapore, Hong Kong, Jamaica and Fiji.

In East African Community, Kenya defeated all its peers with both Tanzania and Uganda trailing at position 73 and 77 globally.

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 seen join 60 other countries that use e-passports.

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.

Kenya is driving integration within the East African Community, with the announcement that citizens from Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda can move freely with their identity cards, work, do business and own property on an equal basis.

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