Despite the economic recession, Nigerians are Africa’s fifth happiest people, according to a new report released Wednesday that called on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the well being of their citizens. The report also noted that Nigeria’s position improved from 95 to 91 position.
Mauritius leads the rest of Africa in happiness. Strife-torn Libya is surprisingly ranked second, ahead of Algeria (formerly number one in Africa in 2016). And even a bigger surprise, another crisis-torn nation, Somalia is Africa’s sixth happiest country ahead of Cameroon and South Africa, ranked 7th and 9th respectively. Gabon is eighth and Ghana eleventh, while Morocco is fourth before Nigeria. Ivory Coast came at the tenth position.
The World Happiness Report ranks 156 countries by happiness levels, based on factors such as life expectancy, social support, and levels of corruption.
At the bottom ten are Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Guinea, Liberia, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Central African Republic and the worst of them, Burundi.On the global stage, the Nordic countries have dominated the index since it first was produced in 2012. Rounding out the Top 10 this year are Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.
Unlike past years, the annual report published by the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network also evaluated 117 countries by the happiness and well-being of their immigrants.
Last year, Finland placed fifth in the ranking.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the 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.
Germany was ranked 15 from its previous position one step higher, followed by Belgium (16) and Luxembourg (17).
President Trump has not made America happier again. The United States dropped further from last year’s ranking (14) to 18. For the second consecutive year, the United States has taken a tumble in the World Happiness Report’s annual ranking of more than 150 countries, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a United Nations initiative.
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.
“The lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables,” said the report.
The report also shows that Africans are optimistic about the future, with Nigerians the leaders in this regard.
“The majority of African countries rate life at present below the mid-point of the Cantril ladder scale in the latest available Gallup World Poll.
Nigeria’s track record of such positive expectations is well documented. Cantril’s 1960s study already reported a difference of 2.6 points between the country’s average present (4.8) and future (7.4) ladder ratings.82 Similarly, in 2016, there is a difference of 2.9 points between Nigeria’s present (5.3) and future (8.2) ratings in the Gallup World Poll. An international study of comparative ladder ratings in ten countries with large populations, including China, India and the United States, found Nigeria’s 2.6 point difference between the present and future ratings to be by far the largest.83 Nigeria’s spirit of optimism may be exceptional by world standards, but not in Africa.