Despite the economic recession and other challenges plaguing Africa’s most populous country, a new report reveals Nigerians are Africa’s sixth happiest people. According to the new report released on Monday, Algeria leads the rest of Africa in happiness, followed by Mauritius. Strife-torn Libya is surprisingly ranked third, ahead of Morocco. And even a bigger surprise, another crisis-torn nation, Somalia is Africa’s fifth happiest country ahead of Nigeria and South Africa, ranked 7th. Tunisia is eighth and Egypt ninth, while Sierra Leone comes tenth on the list.
At the bottom ten are Benin, Madagascar, South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the worst of them, Central African Republic. On the global stage, Norway displaced Denmark as the world’s happiest country The Nordic nations are the most content, according to the World Happiness Report 2017 produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2012. Nigerians are happy peopleCountries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report released at the United Nations. “Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, said in an interview. The aim of the report, he added, is to provide another tool for governments, business, and civil society to help their countries find a better way to wellbeing.
Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden rounded out the top ten countries. Germany was ranked 16, followed by the United Kingdom (19) and France (31). The United States dropped one spot to 14. Sachs said the United States is falling in the ranking due to inequality, distrust, and corruption and that the economic measures that the administration of President Donald Trump is trying to pursue, will make things worse.
“They are all aimed at increasing inequality – tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the health care rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels in order to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction.”
The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support, and absence of corruption in government or business. Sachs would like nations to follow the United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness.
“I want governments to measure this, discuss it, analyze it and understand when they have been off in the wrong direction”.
According to the report, “the average ladder scores for over four in five African countries are below the mid-point of the scale. And only two African countries have made significant gains in happiness over the past decade. There are also considerable inequalities in life evaluations in African countries, and this inequality in happiness has increased over the past years”.
The report also shows that Africans are optimistic about the future, with Nigerians the leaders in this regard. It also called on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the wellbeing of their citizens.