Top performers

Africa’s Top 10 / Africa's Top 20

  • Benin, The Gambia, and Seychelles are 2022’s top performers. All three countries offered visa-free access to all African visitors in 2022, as they did in 2021.
  • Burundi, Dijibouti and Ethiopia joined the top 20 performers in 2022.
  • The average score (0.898) of the top 10 countries has risen since 2016 (0.861).
  • The average score (0.839) of the top 20 countries has risen since 2016 (0.734).
  • Seven of the top 20 performers have ratified the AfCFTA Agreement, signed up to the Single African Air Transport Market, and signed the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons. Only one country—Rwanda— has ratified the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons. 

Where are Africa’s top performers?

West Africa counts the largest share of top-performing countries in 2022: it is home to eight of the top 20 performers (9 in 2021), equivalent to 40% of all top performers. Of these eight countries, seven also feature among the top 10. East Africa also has eight representatives in the top 20 (it had six in 2021), with one country in the top 10.

Southern Africa is home to three top-20 countries (15%), down from four in 2021. 

North Africa has one country in the top 20 (5%), the same as in 2021. No Central African country ranks among the top 20 on this year’s 2022 AVOI or on the AVOI of last year.

Do income levels and location play a role?

Nine of the 20 best-performing countries are low-income countries, and nine more are lower-middle-income countries. 13 of Africa’s 24 low-income countries rank in the upper half of the AVOI. It is evident that more often than not, low-income countries lead Africa in adopting progressive policies that encourage human mobility.

In contrast, the two lowest-ranked countries on the AVOI are upper-middle-income countries, and five of Africa’s seven upper- middle-income countries rank in the lower half of the AVOI.

Only one country in Africa—Seychelles— is classified as a high-income country. The AVOI has ranked Seychelles first since 2016, and joint first alongside Benin since 2018 and The Gambia since 2020.

  • 18 of the 2022's top 20 performers are low-income or lower-middle-income countries.
  • 5 of 7 of Africa’s upper-middle-income countries have a low visa openness score.
  • 5 of 6 of Africa’s island states are top 20 performers, with Madagascar joining the list in 2022 (the other 4 top-20 performers are Cabo Verde, Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles.) 
  • 3 of 16 of Africa’s landlocked states are among the 2022 top 20 performers (Burundi, Mauritania and Rwanda).

Three of the top-20 performers are landlocked countries, and seven of Africa’s 16 landlocked countries feature in the upper half of the AVOI. Most of these countries share international borders with a number of neighbouring countries. 

Income and geography

  • 18 of the top 20 countries are low- income or lower-middle income economies.
  • Five out of six of Africa’s island states are in the top 20 countries.
  • All six of Africa’s upper-middle income economies have low visa openness scores.