By Alfred Koroma
Sierra Leone has dropped three places on a list of countries with the most powerful passports and now ranks 81, according to recently published Henley Passport Index.
The passport dropped from 78 in 2019 to 81 in 2023. Sierra Leone and Kyrgyzstan are tied on 81 and citizens of both countries can travel to 64 countries visa-free or visa-on-demand access.
Despite the drop, Sierra Leone passport is stronger than neighboring Guinea and Liberia and most other African and Asians countries, including Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia , Rwanda, , Lebanon and India, but weaker than Ghana, Gambia and Morocco etc.
Japan tops the list with visa-free access to a record of 193 countries around the world. It is followed by Singapore and South Korea which have “visa-free” access to 192 countries, ahead of Germany and Spain which have a tie on 190 “visa-free destinations, followed by Finland, Italy, Luxembourg which is are having 189.
Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden are all tied in fifth place, while France, Ireland, Portugal and United Kingdom are at 6. New Zealand and the United States hit 7, with Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Afghanistan is at the bottom of the index and its nationals can only travel to 26 countries visa-free.
The Henley Passport Index ranks global passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which has the reputation of being the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information. According to the Index, global travel is now around 75% of pre-pandemic levels.