Visa openness progress, 2016-2020

There has been a general positive trend when it comes to visa openness across the continent in recent years, with a record 93% of countries either improving or maintaining their scores in the 2020 Index. At the same time, 20 countries moved upwards in rank, up from 13 in 2019.

Ten countries that have made progress on the Index in the last five years are also adopting online solutions to streamline the travel process for African visitors by offering eVisas. Among those that most improved their visa openness scores between 2016-2020, six countries are in West Africa, while seven countries in East Africa maintained or increased their high scores.

In 2020, 42% of African countries with low visa openness scores still do not offer any visas on arrival for African travellers, although this improved from 60% in 2016. This shows the scope that exists for countries lower down the Index to adopt more visa-on-arrival policies.

Access overview

  • 50 countries improved or maintained their score (47 countries in 2019, 43 in 2018 and 47 in 2017).
  • 20 countries moved upwards in rank on the Index (13 in 2019, 14 in 2018 and 12 in 2017).
  • Ten countries that made the most progress on the Index between 2016-2020 also offer eVisas (Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Gabon, Malawi, Nigeria, São Tome and Príncipé, Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Zimbabwe).
  • Six countries that made the most progress on the Index between 2016-2020 are in West Africa (Benin, The Gambia, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone).
  • Seven countries that maintained high scores or increased their high scores on the Index are in East Africa (Seychelles, Comoros, Djibouti, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda).
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