Nine out of the ten least happy countries in the world are from Africa, according to the latest World Happiness report released by the United Nations on Wednesday.
The 2018 report assessed 156 countries’ happiness levels based on six factors – per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business. Happiness was less visible in Africa than in other regions of the world.
According to the report, people in Burundi are unhappiest with their lives, followed by Central African Republic (155), South Sudan (154), Tanzania (153) and Yemen (152). Rwanda, Malawi, Liberia, Haiti and Syria were among the bottom 10 unhappy countries.
It should not be surprising that Burundi is the least happy country for the second year in a row, considering the political violence in the country following attempts by its leader, Pierre Nkurunziza to stay in power for as long as he can. The other striking development is that Rwanda, Yemen, Tanzania, South Sudan and the Central African Republic reported happiness levels below that of even war-torn Syria.
Nevertheless, some African countries that made progress and scored higher on the happiness index, include Mauritius (55), Algeria (84), Morocco (85) and Nigeria (91), among others. Nigeria has improved from its previous position of 95 at the global level and sixth in Africa in 2017. With its current position at 91, its citizens seem to be happier now in spite of its economic and security concerns. South Africa has also dropped four spots since last year’s report and is now ranked in 105th place.
On the global stage, Finland is now the happiest country in the world, displacing Norway which topped the index in 2017.
The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey that reviews the state of happiness in the world and it is aimed at influencing government policy. This is the sixth World Happiness Report.
According to the UN, the overall rankings from the report has been based on pooled results from Gallup World Poll surveys from 2015-2017. For the first time, the UN also examined the happiness levels of immigrants in each country, with Finland also scoring the highest.