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Musings From Abroad

2022 HPI: South Africa has strongest passport in Africa. See how others fared



Beyond the advantages of telecommunication and technology in general, one of the realities of the world being a “global village” is that state boundaries are reduced to the minimum, and citizens of different countries are able to move from one “village” to another with fewer hassles. One main factor in achieving that is the strength of one’s national passport.

Thus, the establishment of the Henley Passport Index (HPI). The index is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom enjoyed by holders of that country’s ordinary – as opposed to diplomatic – passports. Simply put, the passport index considers what travel benefits accrue to the holder of a particular passport.

The Index compares the visa-free access of 199 different passports to 227 travel destinations. If no visa is required, then a score with a value = 1 is created for that passport. The same applies if you can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) when entering the destination.

The Henley Passport Index (HPI) for the year 2022 has been released and African countries have not fared too well.

Japan and Singapore are joint top at number one with 194 Visa-free scores. What that means is that holder of Japanese and Singaporean passports can access 194 countries across the world. Germany and South Korea and joint second with 190 Visa-free scores while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain occupy the third position with 189 Visa-free scores.

In Africa, South Africa passport is the strongest in Africa, occupying the 53rd position and 104 Visa-free scores. Botswana is second in Africa with 86 Visa-free scores while Namibia is third in Africa with 78 Visa-free scores.

Lesotho is next with 77 Visa-free scores; Malawi is next with 73 Visa-free scores. Kenya and Tanzania are joint 72 globally with 72 Visa-free scores.

Meanwhile, Nigeria, one of Africa’s biggest economies occupies 40th position in Africa and joint 99 globally with Ethiopia with 45 Visa-free scores just one position above war-ridden South Sudan in 100 on the global index.



Musings From Abroad

US appoints Tom Perriello new special envoy to Sudan



In an attempt to exert direct influence over Sudan’s peace process, the United States has appointed congressman and former diplomat, Tom Perriello, as special envoy.

According to a dispatch, Mr. Perriello would assist in coordinating US diplomacy and efforts with allies throughout Africa and the Middle East to put a stop to the conflict, humanitarian catastrophe, and atrocities.

Perriello will “advance our efforts to end the hostilities, secure unhindered humanitarian access, and support the Sudanese people as they seek to fulfil their aspirations for freedom, peace, and justice,” according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

He will also work to “empower Sudan’s civilian leaders and push US engagement with partners in Africa, the Middle East, and the international community to forge a united approach to stop this senseless conflict, prevent further atrocities, and promote accountability for crimes already committed.”

Washington stated that it is urgent to stop “an already dire humanitarian situation from turning into catastrophic famine” in the statement.

Prior to the assignment, US former President Barack Obama had designated Perriello as a special envoy in the African Great Lakes region in 2015. From 2009 to 2011, he was a member of the US House of Representatives as well.

In addition, Mr. Perriello has participated in numerous diplomatic missions and supported international efforts for justice in Kosovo, Darfur, and Afghanistan. Following his departure from Congress, Mr. Perriello assumed the position of CEO at the nonprofit American Progressive Action Fund. In addition, he advised the Fund on policy matters pertaining to women’s problems, immigration, voting, and guns.

His nomination as the United States’ special envoy to Sudan follows months of demands from US senators for the appointment of a senior specialist to help save Sudan from devolving further into one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes in history.

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Musings From Abroad

EU team begins 4-day working visit to Nigeria



The inaugural four-day working tour to Nigeria by members of the Council of Europe’s Africa Working Party (COAFR) has begun in Abuja.

Scheduled to take place between February 26 and 29, 2024, the visit represents a turning point in EU-Nigeria ties as COAFR leaders interact with different stakeholders throughout the nation.

Representatives from all 27 EU member states make up COAFR, which is entrusted with directing EU foreign policy towards sub-Saharan Africa, the African Union, and other regional institutions.

According to a statement released on Sunday by the European Union in Nigeria, the party works with the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council under the direction of the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) of the European Union. It is chaired by a permanent member of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Advisor, and the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning are just a few of the important federal government ministries and agencies that COAFR delegates will be meeting with in Abuja. The statement went on to say that interactive meetings with the ECOWAS Commission will shed light on integration procedures and regional trends.

COAFR intends to meet with officials of the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria, Consuls General of EU Member States, and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos.

In order to strengthen talks on strengthening the EU-Nigeria collaboration, the group will also visit EU-funded initiatives with an emphasis on digital innovation, key infrastructure, connectivity, and migration.

The statement notes that this is the group’s first-ever working trip to Nigeria and that officials from EU institutions will be joining them in addition to representatives of 17 EU Member States.

Recent high-profile visits by top EU officials to Nigeria demonstrate the EU’s increased engagement with the country and emphasise how crucial the EU-Nigeria collaboration is. The statement brought to mind that a team from the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue Meeting in Abuja in October was led by EU Commissioner for International Partnership Jutta Urpilainen and her energy equivalent, Kadri Simson.

“Prior to their visit, Helena Konig, the Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and Rita Laranjinha, the Managing Director, of Africa at the EEAS, had also been in the country.

“This followed the visits in 2022 by Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s Executive Vice President, in February, the EU and Member States Maritime Security Coordinators in April, and senior officials of the European Commission responsible for Energy and Home Affairs,” the statement reads.

To strengthen their cooperation, the EU and Nigeria decided on a more comprehensive political framework called the EU-Nigeria Joint Way Forward in 2008.

In the broader framework of the EU’s ties with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries, the agreement sets the principles, norms, and priority areas for greater political discussion and collaboration.

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