According to the third annual World Happiness index, calculated as a result of the extensive survey, the happiest people in Africa live in Libya. None of African countries could get into the top 50 happiest countries. In terms of the happiest people in the world, it’s people from Switzerland.
The Report is produced by the UN’s Sustainable Development Systems Network and scores nations on responses to the ‘life evaluation’ questions collected in the Gallup World Poll. These include variables such as real GDP per person, healthy life expectancy, corruption levels and social freedoms.
“Increasingly happiness is considered a proper measure of social progress and goal of public policy,” the Report’s authors say, noting that there is a UN Resolution on happiness and well-being that requires members to collect such data.
The situation in Libya right now is often described as fractured and chaotic. The internationally-recognised administration headed by Abdullah al-Thinni was ousted from the capital Tripoli last year, and operates out of hotels in the eastern city of Benghazi – and all the while, the Islamic State has taken advantage of the anarchy to establish a foothold on the African continent.
So it’s entirely surprising that the just-released report would rank Libya as the happiest country in Africa.
Algeria is the second-happiest country in Africa, and in contrast to Libya, has been spared most of the turmoil that has rocked North Africa in the past four years.
Mauritius comes third in Africa, the little island nation regularly tops all the “good” rankings in Africa.
In fourth place is Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, which remains happy despite the havoc wreaked by Boko Haram attacks in the north in recent years.
Fifth is Zambia, which tends to be a quiet land, at least by African standards.
The most miserable countries in Africa are not the poorest, or even the ones most affected by terrorism, war or instability. They are a mixed bag, and in fact, some of them have posted strong economic growth figures.
Togo is the unhappiest country in Africa, and neighbouring Benin is third from last. It’s intriguing that two gloomy countries could be right next to the very happy Nigeria.