Central African Republic has been ranked as the least happy country in the world followed by Burundi and Tanzania, a UN-commissioned report into world happiness concluded.
The 2017 World Happiness Report which was released on Monday stated that eight of the 10 least happy countries in the world are in Africa with Rwanda, Togo, Guinea, Liberia and South Sudan propping up the happiness rankings, the BBC reports.
Algeria, Mauritius, Libya and Morocco were the highest ranked African countries. Somalia is Africa’s fifth happiest country ahead of Nigeria and South Africa, ranked 7th. Tunisia is eighth and Egypt ninth, while Sierra Leone is tenth.
A simple, subjective question is asked of more than 1,000 people every year in each country to complete the report.
“Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top,” the question asks.
“The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?”
The report also tries to analyze statistics to explain why one country is happier than another. It looks at factors including economic strength (measured by GDP per capita), social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceived corruption.
Sierra Leone and Cameroon are the only two African countries that have made gains in happiness over the past decade, a section of the report says.
It continues to say a number of African countries are disappointed with standards of governance and “still waiting for changes to improve their lives”.
“While there has been significant improvement in meeting basic needs according to the Afrobarometer index of ‘lived poverty’, population pressure may have stymied infrastructure and youth development,” it says.
All is not gloom as the report ends on an optimistic gear by noting that African people demonstrate “ingenuity” and “remarkable resilience” in the face of inadequate infrastructure.
Norway which was placed fourth last year is now the world’s happiest country, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report. Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland followed Norway in the ranking.
The report was prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an international panel of social scientists convened by the United Nations.