Kenya’s journey toward a more open-door policy took a positive stride, climbing two positions to No. 29 in the Africa Visa Openness Index (AVOI) 2023. While Kenya is still the second-least accessible nation for visitors within the East African Community, the ranking reflects Kenya’s efforts to welcome more travelers.
The AfDB report highlights Kenya’s recent decision to offer visa-free entry to Djibouti and Mozambique as a key factor in the climb. President William Ruto’s announcement of abolishing visa requirements for all visitors starting January 2024 further underscores this commitment.
However, the report also notes that Kenya, along with Uganda, remains in the lower half of AVOI’s rankings. Still, the region boasts three top performers—Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania—with Rwanda holding a perfect score. This might hold the key to Ruto’s ambitious visa policy shift.
Last year, Kenya’s ranking dipped due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Currently, 32 countries require visas for entry, while 19 African nations enjoy visa-free access. The new visa-free policy, announced on Jamhuri Day, aims to attract more tourists and businesspeople, building on the 1,465,175 visitors (excluding transit) who arrived in Kenya last year.