A UN-commissioned report into world happiness has concluded that eight of the 10 least happy countries in the world are in Africa.
The researchers’ ranking of 155 countries had Central African Republic as the least happy country in the world, followed by Burundi and Tanzania. Other African countries propping up the happiness rankings were Rwanda, Togo, Guinea, Liberia and South Sudan.
The highest ranked African countries were Algeria, Mauritius, Libya and Morocco.
The report mainly relies on asking a simple, subjective question of more than 1,000 people every year in each country.
“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 analyse 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.
The section of the report focusing on Africa says only two African countries – Sierra Leone and Cameroon – have made gains in happiness over the past decade.
It says people in many 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.
Despite this, the report ends on an optimistic note, saying that African people demonstrate “ingenuity” and “remarkable resilience” in the face of inadequate infrastructure.