West African countries continue to lead the AVOI’s rankings this year: seven of the continent’s top 10 performers are from West Africa. West Africa and East Africa each contribute eight countries to the continent’s top 20. The AVOI’s four highest-ranking countries hail from West and East Africa in equal parts: Benin and The Gambia from West Africa, and Seychelles and Rwanda from East Africa. This is the first year that Rwanda is among the continent’s top performers. Southern Africa counts three top-20 countries: this number is unchanged from 2022 and is one less than in 2021. North Africa contributes one country to the top 20, as in all years except 2021, when it contributed two. No Central African country has yet ranked among the AVOI’s top 20.
Nine of the 22 African countries classified as lower-income countries figure among this year’s top 20 performers. So do nine of the 24 African countries classified as lower-middle-income. In both cases, the proportion is impressive, and reflects low-income and lower-middle-income countries’ generally more progressive visa policies towards the citizens of other African countries. In contrast, upper-middle-income countries account for a much smaller proportion of visa-open countries. Only one of Africa’s seven upper-middle-income countries figures among the top 20. As for high-income countries, Seychelles is the only such country in Africa to rank among the AVOI’s top performers. It does so by applying a visa-free policy towards all Africans. Seychelles has been a top performer consistently since the AVOI’s inception, initially holding the top position alone and then sharing it with Benin in 2018. The Gambia joined the two top performers in 2020, and in 2023, Rwanda brought the number to four. As was the case last year, three of Africa’s 16 landlocked countries are among the top 20 performers and seven landlocked countries are among the AVOI’s top half. Most of Africa’s landlocked countries share international borders with a number of neighbouring countries: this increases the impact of their visa-open approach for travellers within their region. Island states also tend to fare well on the AVOI: five of Africa’s six island countries are among the top 20 performers.
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