Eritrea and Somalia among the world’s least powerful passports


Eritrea and Somalia have been named among the countries with the least powerful passports in the world.

The 2019 Henly Passport Index ranks the world’s passports based on the number of countries citizens are able to travel to without a visa. Somalians only have visa-free access to 32 coutries while Eritrea does slighly better with 38, compared to the list’s leader Japan, which has visa-free access to 190 countries.

Eritrea and Somalia’s weak passports

Eritrea (38) and Somalia (32) find themselves in the bottom five of the 2019 Henly Passport Index along with Afghanistan (30), Iraq (30) Pakistan (33) and Yemen (37). Created in partnership with International Air Transport Association (IATA), the index aims to measure the growth of open travel between different countries.

Global mobility is rising with the average person being able to travel to 107 destinations without a visa in 2018, compared to just 58 in 2006. However, the index also highlights how far behind the global average many African nations remain.

The challenges Africans face when it comes to travelling – even within the continent – are widely documented and efforts are ongoing to open up the borders between African nations.

Featured image: By BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada – Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777-200LR ET-ANR, CC BY-SA 2.0,

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.