JAPA: Nigeria, South Africa top list of African countries seeking second citizenship  

A recent report indicates that Nigeria and South Africa top the list of African countries seeking residence and citizenship in foreign countries such as the US and the UK.  

According to the report, these countries have had a significant spike in interest in foreign passports, with a 46% increase in enquiries in the third quarter of 2022.  

The report also reveals that African countries have maintained an upward trajectory in global investment and market growth, following a 23% increase in enquires last year.  

The report published by Hanley and Partners highlights that South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Algeria were among the top 20 nationalities in investment migration.  

Moreover, South Africa and Nigeria topped the list of countries seeking these applications in 2022. Other countries on the list include Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and Uganda.  

Speaking on the latest trend, Weyinmi Oritsejafor, Client Advisor at Henley & Partners UK, said  

  • “Africa’s wealthiest countries have the highest number of applicants on the continent for residence and citizenship by investment programs.  
  • “This gives credence to the fact that affluent African investors are looking to protect their wealth but also significantly enhance their prosperity, enabling them to leave a greater legacy for future generations,”  she said.  

Reason for Second Citizenship Quest 

According to Henley & Partners, a substantial portion of African investors and individuals are motivated by the necessity to secure more potent passports.

This dual benefit not only eases their travel but also provides them with entry to a larger segment of the global economy via visa-free access. 

The October 2023 Henley Passport Power index, which ranks passports according to the percentage of global GDP each passport provides to its holders visa-free, revealed that passport holders of Africa’s wealthiest country with the most millionaires, South Africa, can access 107 (47%) of the world’s 227 destinations visa-free, but they account for only about 16% of the world’s GDP. 

With the second-largest millionaire population in Africa, Egypt provides visa-free access to a limited 54 destinations, representing only 24% of the world. Despite this, Egypt’s global GDP contribution remains modest at just 4%. 

 With the third-largest concentration of millionaires on the continent, Nigeria makes up approximately 0.5% of the global GDP.

Unfortunately, Nigerian passport holders can access only 44 out of 226 destinations worldwide with visa-free or visa-on-arrival options, covering about 1.5% of the global economy 

  • “Improving your economic mobility and accessing a higher share of global GDP matters because it leads to greater financial freedoms that facilitate conducting business and international banking and investment, as well as entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Greater visa-free access to more stable economies can also mitigate country- or jurisdiction-specific risk,” Weyinmi observed. 

Implication on Nigeria Economy 

While investment migration can encourage global trade in general, such upward trends also showcase the decline in the economy landscape of a country like Nigeria.  

In addition, investment migration can also result in scarce capital exportation from Nigeria to the host country for investment, further weakening the availability of capital in the country.  

Lastly, the report also implies that African countries, Nigeria in particular, are not regarded as an investment destination for African investors.

This perception means it will be more difficult for countries to attract foreign direct investment. 

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