Since we posted a countdown of 20 of the unhappiest African nations, we realised how delightful the other side of the coin is and thought it well to share them with you – 20 of the happiest African nations.
This is yet based on the study carried out by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) for the United Nations. It tries to look into a way of creating a secular society which encourages regular gathering of people to inspire mutual support and uplifting, among many goals.
The SDSN report studied 156 countries, while reflecting upon six variables – GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social support (as measured by getting assistance from a ward in times of trouble), trust in the government and business, perceived freedom to make life choices, and generousity (as measured by recent donations). These factors were rated on a scale of 0 (worst) to 10 (best), with the average score of 5.4.
Average Score: 4.219
World Ranking: 128
Improving Senegal’s economy paid off, looking at the satisfactory level of funds that has gone into cash crops, livestock and fish processing since 1993. This has beefed up trade partnership with other countries. Tourism and information technology have gained grounds. The nation scored low in the area of GDP per capita but not so for corruption, as it keeps combating illegal fishing by trawlers. High unemployment and juvenile delinquency are fraught at in the West African country. Senegalese scored their country high in area of social support, but not generousity, despite the level of donation it received over the years. Senegal scored very high in terms of equality of happiness.
19. Congo (Brazzaville)
Average Score: 4.236
World Ranking: 127
Like many countries in the sub-Saharan African region, the earlier Congo Brazzaville start looking away from oil; the better GDP per capita projections for future, says analysts, who hardly forget to reiterate that it takes a systemic approach over time, and oppositions, bent on toppling President Denis Sassou Nguesso long-standing regime. Residents gave a mediocre rating to the economy of the country, which has witnessed descent since the second half of 2014, when oil price began to tumble and government’s effort at revamping her mining industry tarried. Congolese however believe they have not been getting enough facilities from international bodies, in spite of the obvious presence of the French development agency and the European Investment Bank. They appeared to be contented with social support and life choices, which is a reflection of her improvement in the Human Development Index (HDI). People in Congo Brazzaville are quite unequal in terms of happiness.
18. Democratic Republic of Congo
Average Score: 4.272
World Ranking: 125
Baring Somalia, Congo Kinshasa has the worst GDP per capita of all the 157 nations where the SDSN survey was conducted. Violence, poverty, plunder and despair has disrupted the progress of this country since independence from Belgium (June 1960). The good news is that, many respondents say they have someone to fall to in hard times. They also gave high ratings to life expectancy in the country, which, in part, accounted for their recent upsurge (by 11 places) in the global ranking of human development by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). DR Congo came in at no. 16 on the list showing how equal happiness was across 157 countries.
Average Score: 4.276
World Ranking: 124
Ghana’s flourishing economic security, political and social stability has made her the envy of many in West Africa. Ghanaians are, to say the least, contented with the country’s GDP per capita – one of the highest in the continent. More than 70 percent of her cocoa production is said to be exported to Europe and America while the remaining 25 percent are processed in the country. Digital technology goods are also coming up – thanks to the state-owned Rlg Communications – which manufactures various consumer electronics. Automotive and ship construction, petroleum and natural gas, and textile manufacturing are other fledgling sectors of Ghana’s economy. Ghanaians also expressed high level of social support, generousity, willpower and life expectancy. Her 107th position out of 157 on the list of deviation in happiness is nonetheless better than, say, Namibia – a country among the top ten happiest.
Average Score: 4.356
World Ranking: 122
Kenyans rate their country high in areas of income earnings, social support and recent donations. They also claim their chances of leading a lifestyle of choice improved over the years. Tourism, education and telecommunication have added robust growth to the economy of the East African giants; nonetheless, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) served her a caveat earlier this year, dropping her GDP growth projection from 6.8% to 6%. Economic analysts are suggesting that the country come up with measures to curtail risks of heated political sentiments, security threat and corruption. Happiness is more equal across Kenya than many other nations in the top ten, thanks to her no. 79 berth on the list of deviation in happiness.
Average Score: 4.362
World Ranking: 120
Egyptians rate their country’s GDP per capita very high. Life expectancy and social support is another area they expressed relative contentment, but less so freedom of making life choices and assistance from international bodies. The North African country, earlier in the month, devalued the Egyptian Pound (EGP) so as to help it remain competitive and flexible. There have been speculations that the government would soon approach the IMF for a loan agreement or get assistance from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), chances of which analyst doubt. Equality of happiness in Egypt stands at an average score of 2.249, which is much lower than Comoros (one of the 20 unhappiest African nations).
14. South Africa
Average score: 4.459
World Ranking: 116
Away from the sound bite from news channels, South Africa, one of the major producers and exporters of gold, coal, diamonds, platinum, and vanadium, scored high in the area of GDP per capita. As I write, the South African government is bent on slashing government expenditure without enforcing austerity measures on the governed, like raising income tax. That may result to merging national carrier, South African Airways, with the state-owned SA Express airline. While the SA government is looking at drastic measures at rejuvenating its economy, South Africans claim to enjoy an impressively high level of social support and are able to make life-changing decisions. They berate the level of donations coming in from external bodies and life expectancy; with over 80% of the population depending on the public healthcare system. The prevalence of HIV/Aids in the country hasn’t gone unnoticed by the outside world. Equality of happiness is average in SA, which scored 95 out of 157.
Average Score: 4.508
World Ranking: 115
It baffled many how Ethiopia had recorded economic growth between 2004 and 2009 when primarily depending on Agriculture for income generation. Government claim to have made double-digit GDP growth rate over the past decade, but its firm approach to foreign investment and industry development has affected many lives. Degrading lands (due to overuse), poor cultivation practices, and frequent periods of drought, had made the nation to resort to food imported from outside to feed its populace. She scored low in the areas of GDP per capita (its main export crop being coffee), generousity and life expectancy. There is stark disparity between health conditions in the city compared to the rural areas, where sanitation, female genital mutilation, male circumcision, absence of health care professionals, birth rates, infant mortality rates, and death rates are a challenge. Ethiopia also scored low in the area of corruption and bribery, but ranked impressively high at 49th on a list of deviation in happiness out of 157 countries.
Average score: 4.513
World Ranking: 114
Aside life expectancy, Cameroon polled impressive figures in the rest of the five variables tested in the SDSN report. There has been drop in poverty ratio between 2007 and 2014, but the government has to expand its economic policies to impact on the rural areas as well. Cameroonians, when quizzed, raised their thumbs up to better social support system, thanks to programmes like the Social Safety Net which has implemented a cash transfer program to help the poorest households address their daily needs and overcome chronic poverty. Lack of investment; however, cripples the country’s health-care sector very badly that Doctors and nurses trained in Cameroon are looking outside for greener pastures. There is less disparity in happiness across Cameroon.
Average score: 4.574
World Ranking: 113
Namibians were quick to express satisfaction with income earnings rate in their country, even though its population is just about 2.3 million. Mining, tourism, livestock, meat production and fisheries are her major source of income. The South African nation has managed to keep a stable inflation rate in the period between 2008 and 2014, despite trade partnership with the likes of South Africa who, on their own part, have suffered from demand and cost-driven inflation. Respondents, nonetheless, scored the country low in aspect of donations from outside. They said they can make life choices and enjoy a healthy life expectancy. Equality of happiness was lower in Namibia than in Zambia.
10. Sierra Leone
Average score: 4.635
World Ranking: 111
Few residents that engaged with SDSN questionnaires opined that they have people to fall back to in times of trouble, nonetheless, the country scored low for GDP per capita, which could be attributed to the Ebola epidemic that contracted the country’s economy by 21.5% in 2015. The deadly virus had a ripple effect on the country’s health care sector, education and mining – especially Diamond, which is the base of its economy. Post-civil war that lasted for more than a decade and ended in 2002, Sierra Leone have struggled under the so-called ‘resource curse,’ more so corruption. Citizens rated the level of generousity from external bodies high as well as chances of making life choices. None of the respondents actually rated the country for life expectancy. A recent report claim Sierra Leone is the most dangerous place in the world to become a mother. Sierra Leone was listed among the 20 countries with the biggest disparity in happiness.
Average score: 4.795
World Ranking: 106
Zambia scored high for GDP per capita and higher for social support. Zambians believe they can make more life choices, but could hardly express satisfaction with life expectancy and donations to the country. The average life expectancy in Zambia was estimated to be 51.83 years in 2014 according to CIA, with one in thirty-eight pregnant women at risk of death. Zambia is also among the 20 countries with the biggest disparity in happiness.
Average score: 4.875
World Ranking: 103
GDP per capita and social support accounted for most resident’s happiness, but not life expectancy. While Nigerians are not impressed with life expectancy in the country, the most populous African nation is said to be on its way to eradicating polio in the wake of reaching a milestone in December 2014, when it was reported that there was no recorded case of the disease in 6 months. And when Ebola threats were discovered in 2014, Nigerians effectively contained and eliminated the virus that was ravaging three other countries. Those are recent milestones Nigerians shouldn’t forget easily. Shortage of doctors mostly in the rural area is her major health-care challenge and this has been tied to emigration of skilled professional to Europe and North America. In the area of generousity, Nigerians claim they have received quite a number of international donations. The country polled fair result for resident’s choice of life, less for corruption and relative equality in terms of happiness across the country.
Average score: (5.045)
World Ranking: 98
GDP per capita impacted highly on Tunisia’s position in the table as well as Life expectancy. The North African nation’s healthcare is touted as one of the best in the region, as the poorest citizens are able to obtain government support for free treatment, while most Tunisians buy into insurance schemes. The country also rated well for social support but not generousity. Happiness is more equal across Tunisia compared to some other countries in the top ten happiest in Africa.
6. Republic of Somaliland
Average score: 5.057
World Ranking: 97
Livestock is the major export of Somaliland – one of the happiest African nations. Image Credit: YoTuT
The autonomous region of Somalia is a long way from being an independent state and, as fate will have it, is part of Somalia – for now. Residents expressed dissatisfaction about the stability of its economy, with major export earnings coming from camels, cattle, sheep and most importantly goat. They nonetheless rated her high in areas of social support and generousity, the latter variable obviously not a judgment of international donors but tax receipts and remittances from Somali in the Diaspora like the Middle East, Europe and North America. Until the populace and government start to implement clear policies for combating climate change and overgrazing, Agriculture will remain a pot of gold. The region also received high rating for life choices. Somaliland came 39 out 157 on on a list of deviation in happiness.
Average score: 5.151
World Ranking: 90
Morocco received high ratings for GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy and choices. Steady yearly growth and impactful government reforms strengthened the economy of the North African nation since the start of the 21st century. The service sector covers half of her GDP, bolstered by the mining, manufacturing and construction industries. Tourism yields hefty returns in this country. It, along with, Telecommunications, IT and textile record the highest growth. A recent report claim Morocco recorded 10.2 million international tourist arrivals in 2014, ahead of South Africa (9.5 million), Egypt (9.1 million) and Tunisia (6.7 million). Moroccans, moreover, feels their country is not getting enough support from international donors. At no. 53 on the table of deviation in happiness, Morocco can’t be said to be doing bad.
Average score: 5.440
World Ranking: 76
In Somalia, GDP per capita was not considered as the major factor affecting happiness. Instead they dwelled upon social support and freedom to make life choices as important. Its economy has achieved relative stability when the struggles of her two decades of civil war (started in 1991) and terrorism are considered. The report also noted that happiness in Somalia is highly unequal, as residents also attested to a high rate of corruption.
Average score: 5.615
World Ranking: 67
The North African nation scored high for GDP per capita and social support. Inequality of happiness is high, as out of 157 countries, Libya came in at number 139 on the list of deviation in happiness. In recent times, the country has recorded losses in oil sales due to the turmoil cursed by a dysfunctional government. These. many see as sure signs of further insecurity and a threat to stability, with ISIS already spreading into its regions. Despite the threat facing the country, Libyans believe they can make more life choices.
Average score: (5.648)
World Ranking: 66
Just above Libya is the island nation of Mauritius. Few Mauritians that contributed to the SDSN report expressed confidence in the stability of their economy. The IMF recently released a growth forecast of 3.8 percent this year and 3.9 percent in 2017 for the Indian Ocean island nation, which is in concordance with her own projections. Revenues from tourism are also expected to improve this year, with her luxury spas and beaches expected to witness a rise of 800, 000 visitors from last year. People’s perception of corruption was low in Mauritius. Inequality of happiness was not at the same level as the number one-rated Algeria.
Average score: 6.355
World Ranking: 38
Seating pretty at the top of the ranking is Algeria, North Africa. GDP per capita, social support and life expectancy played a huge role in her table-topping feat. Energy is the major export product of this state-owned economy, which has not been spared from the challenges of plummeting oil and gas revenues. The government is nonetheless bringing up measures for preventing economic slide. People in Algeria expressed equality in terms of happiness, out of 147 countries Algeria came in at number 47 on the list showing standard deviation of happiness.