• Thursday, May 23, 2024
businessday logo


Top 10 most developed African countries and their passport access

Building Africa’s sustainable business future

Africa is a continent characterized by diverse levels of development and geopolitical influence. Some nations have made significant strides towards prosperity.

Passport access is a key indicator of global integration and diplomatic relations. As Africa aims for sustainable development, enhancing regional cooperation and diplomatic ties will be crucial for improving passport access and facilitating global mobility for its citizens.

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 the 10 least developed African countries and their passport access, with Somalia with an HDI of 0.380, passport index of 36, South Sudan with an HDI of 0.38, passport index of 46, and the Central African Republic with an HDI of 0.387 and Passport index at 55 ranking the top three.


With an impressive HDI of 0.802, Seychelles ranks as one of the most developed countries in Africa. Its economy relies heavily on tourism, fisheries, and offshore financial services. Seychelles being a small island nation, Seychelles boasts a passport access ranking of 156, offering its citizens relatively good global mobility.


Mauritius, another island nation in the Indian Ocean, closely follows Seychelles with an HDI of 0.796. Mauritius has fostered significant economic growth. Its passport access stands at 151, providing its citizens with favorable visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to numerous countries worldwide.


As the largest country in Africa by land area, Algeria holds considerable economic and geopolitical significance. With an HDI of 0.790, Algeria is classified as a country with high human development. Its passport access to 56 countries reflects its diplomatic relations and regional influence.


Libya maintains an HDI of 0.746, placing it among the top 10 most developed African countries. However, its passport index of 40 underscores the challenges its citizens may face in international travel due to ongoing conflicts and security concerns.


Tunisia, known for its transition to democracy following the Arab Spring, has an HDI of 0.742. Its diverse economy, strong educational system, and strategic location have contributed to its development. With a passport access ranking of 71, Tunisian citizens enjoy moderate global mobility.


Home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, Egypt With an HDI of 0.742, Egypt ranks as one of the most developed countries in Africa. However, its passport access index of 55 indicates some limitations on international travel for its citizens.

South Africa

As one of the most industrialized economy on the African continent, South Africa boasts an HDI of 0.737. Its passport access to 108 countries offers its citizens moderate visa-free travel opportunities globally.


Botswana’s stable democracy, prudent fiscal management, and diamond-rich economy have propelled its development, earning it an HDI of 0.708. Botswana maintains a passport access index of 91, facilitating relatively hassle-free international travel for its citizens.


Morocco with its diversified economy and stable governance, contributes to its HDI of 0.698. Its passport access index of 71 reflects its efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties and foster economic cooperation with other nations.


With an HDI of 0.693, Gabon ranks among the most developed countries in Africa. Its passport access ranking of 61 illustrates its efforts to enhance global engagement and facilitate international travel for its citizens.