SA’s passport power went up in the past year as Egypt can now be accessed visa-free, reports the Daily Maverick. South Aficans can now visit 106 destinations visa-free – out of 227 measured by Henley & Partners for its annual passport ranking and Global Mobility Report.

‘It has climbed up the ranking two places since July 2022 when it was ranked 55th with visa-free access to 105 destinations (47% of the world’s destinations).'

Sarah Nicklin, the global head of public relations for Henley & Partners, said this does not necessarily mean it has gained access to two additional countries.

‘Sometimes, a passport drops down (like the US and UK) – not because they have lost access but because other passports have gained more visa-free destinations, so it pushes them further down the list.’

In 2009, SA passports were in 35th spot of the indexed countries based on data from the International Air Transport Association.

We have access to nearly half the world visa-free, but these destinations account for only 15% of global GDP in terms of economic growth and opportunity,’ says Nicklin.

The company’s research shows the close correlation between passport power and wealth: people in richer countries experience open borders (visa-free access) as a travelling asset much more than those in developing or even middle-income countries (which SA is classified as).

Full Daily Maverick report