African visa policies: Ranking the most and least restrictive countries

African travel has become more open to citizens of the continent in 2022, according to the latest Africa Visa Openness Index (AVOI) report by the African Development Bank. The annual study tracks the visa policies of African governments, evaluating three main criteria: whether entry is visa-free for citizens from other African countries, if a visa on arrival can be obtained, and if visas must be secured in advance.

Benin, The Gambia, and the Seychelles are the most welcoming countries, offering visa-free entry to all African citizens. Rwanda, Ghana and Nigeria are also highly ranked in terms of visa openness, all placing within the top 10. However, Libya, Equatorial Guinea and Sudan have some of the most restrictive visa policies for African visitors.

The AVOI scores range from 0 to 1, with 0 representing the most restrictive visa policies and 1 denoting the most welcoming policies. The below table shows each country’s score and ranking.

The report shows that 10 countries improved their score on visa openness in 2022, 40 maintained their score, and only four recorded a decrease.

Other key statistics from the study include:

  • 27% of intra-African travel does not require a visa, an increase from 25% in 2021.
  • 27% of intra-African travel allows for visas on arrival, up from 24% in 2021.
  • 47% of intra-African travel still requires visas to be obtained in advance, a decrease from 51% in 2021.

Overall, more than 60% of African countries have improved their AVOI score since the index was first published in 2016, with a majority offering visa-free travel to at least five other African countries. Many are also investing in technology that allows visitors to obtain e-visas before their trip.