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Faith Nyasuguta 

Passport holders in Kenya cannot access 40 nations, a marginal drop from the 43 in October 2021 and 54 in July despite a huge vaccination campaign put up across the country.

For months, this has seen Kenyans barred from a number of destinations at a time when nations are easing travel restrictions amid growing Covid-19 vaccinations.

The Henley Passport Index, which often monitors the globe’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006, revealed this in its final report of 2021, indicating that countries are still keen to shield their citizens from new Covid-19 variants.

“This year, Passport Index data paints a picture of a world in recovery, bolstered by growing access to vaccines and an inherent desire to move, meet and connect across the globe,” the report said.

Among nations topping the list of countries that have barred or placed restrictions on Kenyan passport holders are Taiwan, Israel, Sweden, Vatican City, South Korea, Singapore, Poland, and Cambodia.

The other nations include Bangladesh, Chile, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Cameroon, which Henley & Partners lists as the only African country barring Kenyans.

Some countries that have already removed Kenya from its travel ban list include Ireland, Bulgaria, Canada, Hong Kong, Denmark and the UK. This has also aided in the opening up of the Kenyan skies and bolstering activity in the aviation sector.

Kenya is a major product importer and travel is vital for its business executives who have to travel to do due diligence and source raw materials, finished products for the East African market.

Vaccination in Kenya is growing at a high rate /Courtesy/

The East African nation has in recent days been recording a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, with the number of admissions in health facilities also increasing.

The positivity rate — the proportion of tests coming back positive — shot up by a double-digit from December, raising concerns among health officials.

The country has so far jabbed 14.4 percent of its adult population, well ahead of its targets. To increase vaccinations, the Health ministry has directed malls, among other public establishments, to lock out the unvaccinated.


Kenyan passport /Courtesy/

The Passport Index reveals that Kenya ranked behind Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, Namibia, Tunisia, Tanzania and Swaziland, among other African nations.

Currently, a Kenyan can visit 30 countries without a visa, obtain the entry document on arrival in 33 nations while the visa is required in 133 countries.

Kenya set in motion the new chip-embedded passports for its citizens in a move that aims at shrinking rampant forgery and impersonation of holders. The fresh features are set to make it impossible to forge or duplicate a Kenyan passport.

Kenya, whose economy ballooned by 9.9 percent in the third quarter, has been counting on easing of containment measures to harness its growth and lift the economy from the Covid-19 slowdown.

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Faith Nyasuguta