Why wealthy Kenyans buy second citizenship; how powerful is the Kenyan passport?

A Kenyan passport. []

A few months ago, a global citizenship advisory firm released a report on how wealthy Kenyans are spending at least Ksh330 million to buy Caribbean citizenship in the quest for a second passport.

One of the reasons why the wealthy seek a second passport is the need to diversify and invest in these countries other than their motherland.

The fact that the 2022 presidential elections are edging closer has even fueled their bid to obtain citizenship for countries deemed to be a haven for opportunities in regard to investment.

According to the Henley & Partners and CS Global Partners – both citizenship advisory firms – the Caribbean Island nations are attractive to investors because they not only offer massive investment opportunities but their passports have guarantee Visa-free access to 140 other countries in the world especially in Europe.

This is a sharp contrast with the Kenyan passport which gives you Visa-free access to about 71 nations, most of them in Africa.

Some of them include: Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Trinidad, Swaziland, Malaysia, Senegal, Panama, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Burundi, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana and The Gambia among others.

Beyond the African continent, the Kenyan Passport gives you Visa-free access to Singapore, Philippines, Antigua and Barbuda, Bajama, Barbados, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Fiji and Indonesia.

However, the Kenyan passport was recently ranked as the 8th most powerful travel document in the continent by the Henley passport Index Ranking. Globally, it attained a ranking of 72nd position.

In 2019, the same ranking placed it at 74th position. The improvement was attributed to well-coordinated campaigns by the Foreign Affairs Ministry as well as bilateral talks engineered by the Presidency in his many trips to different parts of the world in the past year.

Henley Passport Index Ranking cited that political instability was a key reason why many African countries had their passports lose global power.

The report further asserted that political instability affects the freedom of movement.

Nonetheless, Kenya’s Immigration Department is gearing towards the shift to e-Visa beginning January 2021.

This is expected to boost its passport’s power in the 2021 passport index ranking.

Ideally, an e-Visa allows an applicant to make their application online via phone and also bring down in-person visitation to Immigration offices in the era of COVID-19.