The Kenyan passport has improved six places in the global mobility ranking to position 67, up from the 73rd place it ranked in January while moving one step up in the continent to occupy the seventh most powerful position.
The Henley Passport Index Report released on Wednesday further shows that the number of countries that Kenyans can visit without a visa, or obtain one on arrival, increased to 76 from 73 in January.
The mobility score measures the number of countries that a person holding a given country’s passport can visit without possessing a visa or the nations where they can get a visa on arrival.
Mauritius, which has maintained its top position on the continent, improved five places in the global rank to hold position 29, showing that holders can visit 148 countries visa-free.
It was followed by South Africa (51), Botswana (58), Namibia (62), Lesotho (64) and eSwatini, with Kenya toppling Malawi which came 68th position in the globe. Tanzania emerged position 69 while Zambia and Uganda came positions 70 and 72 respectively.
Singapore dislodged Japan from the world’s top rank, allowing visa-free users to access 192 countries, followed by Germany, Italy and Spain, which all came position two at 190 each.
Afghanistan’s passport ranks the lowest, only allowing holders to visit 27 countries visa-free. It comes immediately below Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, among others, in that order.
Kenya’s document’s boost is attributed to a government deal inked with its South African and Eritrean counterparts to remove visa travel restrictions.
The strength is set to improve after the Senegalese government this week agreed to allow Kenyans to tour the country without visa requirements.
In 2015, Kenya first made public the decision to roll out new chip-embedded passports for its citizens in efforts aimed at taming rampant forgery and impersonation of holders.
The electronic passport was initially to be launched in December 2016 but the unveiling was over the years extended several times.
The government, however, finally set last December as the deadline for phasing out the old generation passports, with the move being part of a binding commitment to migrate to the new East African e-passport.