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Musings From Abroad

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

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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

Italian firm, Eni signs $8 billion Libya gas deal as PM Meloni visits Tripoli

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With the aim of boosting energy supplies and other markets, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) signed an $8 billion gas production deal with Italian energy company Eni.

The deal, which comes despite the insecurity and political chaos in the North African country was signed during a visit to Tripoli by Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, aims to increase gas output for the Libyan domestic market as well as exports, through the development of two offshore gas fields.

Meloni met Libya’s Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, head of the internationally recognised Government of National Unity (GNU) in Tripoli for talks that also focused on migration across the Mediterranean.

At a joint news conference with Descalzi, the NOC chief, Farhat Bengdara, said the gas deal had a duration of 25 years and called it the most important new investment in Libya’s energy sector for a quarter of a century.

According to a statement by Eni’s chief executive, Claudio Descalzi, the output will begin in 2026 and reach a plateau of 750 million cubic feet per day.

“This agreement will enable important investments in Libya’s energy sector, contributing to local development and job creation while strengthening Eni’s role as a leading operator in the country.”

Since the beginning of the current Russia/Ukraine war, European countries have sought alternate gas sources outside Russia. Italy on its part has already taken a lead in sourcing gas from Algeria, building a new strategic partnership there that includes investment to help state energy company Sonatrach reverse years of declining output.

Libya is the fourth natural gas producer on the African continent, and oil and gas resources largely contribute to Libya’s export trade. The country developed a strong oil sector after major oil discoveries in the late 1950s.

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Musings From Abroad

EU chief, Josep Borrell, wants South Africa to influence ceasefire with Ukraine

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The regional bloc,  European Union wants South Africa to influence Russia to stop its ongoing war with Ukraine.

The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday raised expectations that the African country will use its good relations with Russia to convince it to stop the war in Ukraine.

Borrell, while speaking alongside South Africa’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor in the capital Pretoria, said “The EU isn’t asking South Africa to choose sides, just asking countries across the world to stand with the UN Charter.”

The EU considers South Africa an important partner in the rules-based international order, he added.

Pandor said: “It is not just South Africa and other African countries that must play a role in seeking peace.”

Full diplomatic relations between South Africa and Russia were established in 1942 as the Soviet Union. Russia has an embassy in Pretoria and a consulate-general in Cape Town. South Africa has an embassy in Moscow.

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