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10 least developed African countries and their passport access

10 least developed African countries and their passport access

Some countries in Africa face severe development and accessibility challenges. This examination centers on the ten least developed nations, examining their HDI rankings and passport access.

These metrics illuminate socio-economic conditions and citizen mobility. Persistent issues like poverty, instability, and inadequate infrastructure hinder progress and limit international opportunities.

Understanding the connection between HDI and passport access shows the need for urgent, inclusive development efforts.

The data used was sourced from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the Human Development Index (HDI) and The Henley Passport Index, which relies on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), for passport access information.

The Human Development Index (HDI) tracks several key indicators, including life expectancy rate, adult literacy rate, gross national income per capita, and access to the Internet.

Nations scoring low on these indicators (0-0.55) are categorized as having a low human development ratio.
Those scoring between 0.55 and 0.70 are termed medium human development countries, while scores ranging from 0.70 to 0.80 indicate high human development ratios.

Meanwhile, countries scoring between 0.80 and 1.0 are classified as having very high human development ratios.

BusinessDay reported Nigeria, has an HDI of 0.548, which falls within the category of countries with a low human development ratio, scoring between 0 and 0.55. Additionally, it holds a passport access ranking of 45.

Here are the 10 least developed African countries and their passport access


With an HDI of 0.380, Somalia ranks among the world’s least-developed nations due to enduring political instability, conflict, and humanitarian crises. Somali passport holders encounter significant barriers to international travel, reflected in a low passport access index of 36, underscoring the challenges citizens face in crossing borders.

South Sudan

With an HDI of 0.381 South Sudan faces persistent civil war aftermath and political instability. Passport access stands at 46, indicating moderate travel restrictions. Despite natural resource wealth, internal conflicts impede development.

Central African Republic (CAR)

Central African Republic, HDI 0.387, struggles with political instability, conflict, and poor infrastructure. Passport access at 55 indicates moderate mobility restrictions, limiting global engagement opportunities for citizens.


With an HDI of 0.394, Chad battles with poverty, underdevelopment, and internal conflicts. The nation’s passport access index is also 55, reflecting similar constraints on international travel faced by its citizens as in neighboring countries.


Niger shares a similar HDI ranking of 0.394 with Chad, indicating widespread poverty and developmental challenges. Despite its vast natural resources, Niger’s economy faces constraints, and its citizens encounter limited international mobility, as reflected by a passport access index of 57.


Mali’s HDI of 0.410 places it among the least developed countries in Africa. The nation has experienced political instability, terrorism, and armed conflict, hindering progress towards sustainable development. Its passport access index of 56 suggests moderate restrictions on international travel for its citizens.


With an HDI of 0.420, Burundi struggles with poverty, political unrest, and ethnic tensions. The country’s passport access index is 51, indicating relatively fewer opportunities for its citizens to travel internationally compared to other nations.

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, with an HDI of 0.438, faces challenges related to poverty, limited access to education and healthcare, and political instability. Despite efforts towards development, its passport access index of 60 underscores the barriers citizens face in international travel.

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s HDI of 0.458 reflects ongoing struggles with poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and the legacy of civil war. The nation’s passport access index of 67 indicates relatively better accessibility compared to some of its counterparts on this list.


Mozambique, with an HDI of 0.461, faces developmental challenges exacerbated by natural disasters and armed conflict. While its passport access index of 63 suggests moderate restrictions, Mozambican citizens still encounter limitations in international mobility.