Rwandan passport holders can now access two more destinations than they did last year, according to the latest edition of the Henley Passport Index, the pioneer ranking of all the world’s travel documents. Out of 110 spots, Rwanda now ranks 81st up from the 83rd spot in 2020. The same spot is shared with Sao Tome and Principe. The index ranks all of the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is also based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA)- a body that arguably maintains the world’s largest and most accurate travel information. The latest results indicate that the gap in travel freedom is now at its largest since the index began in 2006. Although there has been very little movement in the index for the past five quarters since the outbreak of Covid-19, taking a step back reveals some interesting dynamics over the past decade. 2020 saw Rwanda entering the biggest climbers in the past decade for the first time. In 2010, Rwandan passport holders could access only 39 countries visa-free, a number that has now risen to 61. 2021 is more hopeful While nobody expects a return to pre-pandemic mobility levels anytime soon, the outlook now is certainly more hopeful than it was even a few months ago,” said Christian Kaelin, Chairman of the Henley & Partners. “The latest ranking is a reminder that economic recovery and development are dependent on global mobility, including personal travel freedom, and that passport power should never be taken for granted, he said. Looking at what 2021 holds, experts argued that adaptability and responsiveness will be critical to future survival and success. Appeal of investment migration surges amid ongoing volatility According to the index, countries offering residence- and citizenship-by-investment programs continue to perform well Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, says there has been a significant spike in demand for investment migration programs as entrepreneurs and affluent investors seek to overcome the lifestyle limitations and corporate and financial risks of being restricted to a single jurisdiction. “It is clear that diversifying country risk has become a priority in terms of personal access rights as well as financial and property investment. Even high-net-worth individuals from advanced economies with premium passports and world-class healthcare systems are now looking to create portfolios of complementary citizenship and residence options. They all share the same intention — to access health security and optionality in terms of where they can live, conduct business, study, and invest, for themselves and their families.” Over the last decade, Rwanda has signed agreements with countries outside the continent to allow visa-free access to countries such as Qatar, Singapore and Indonesia, among others. Despite the pandemic, the country’s visa regime over the last decade shows that Rwanda has significantly adopted a progressive regime to ease access into the country. For instance, in January this year, Rwanda became the 75th country to join the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Public Key Directory (PKD), a move that is expected to drive faster the implementation of the country’s electronic passport project. On the other hand, in 2019 the country began issuing e-passports also known as East Africa e-passport.