Africa Is Unhappy And This Should Make Us Happy

Prior to this year’s UN World Happiness Day which we celebrated on the 20th of March, the World Happiness Index published the list of the happiest countries of 2016 and it made for a pretty eye-opening list on the state of our continent. No African country made it to the rank of the first 50 countries, with the first feature of an African country on the list being Libya in the 67th position.

See Also: World Happiness Index 2016 — See The List Of Countries

Now some may wonder why we should care about the rankings of a happiness index, so we will arm you with the knowledge that the report considers six variables in drawing its conclusions. The variables include; GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, trust (referring to the absence of corruption in government and business), perceived freedom to make life decisions and generosity (as measured by donations). With these variables, Africa is represented by eight out of the lowest ten countries ranked with poor showings for GDP per capita, social support and life expectancy.


The positions of the different African countries on the index, prove one thing; Africa is quite unhappy. While the fact that our continent is unhappy is in itself not a cause to smile or cheer, the consciousness that is showed out by the report is laudable. The results of the report which were sourced via polls show the increasing awareness of Africans on the issues besotting them. Internet penetration and a larger number of younger and more discerning Africans are providing an opportunity for voicing dissatisfaction and frustrations at the ways our countries are going.

Young Africans are asking for more and even if the leaders in their countries may pay no mind to them, the rest of the world is. Gone are the days of suffering and smiling, Africa is suffering and making a fuss. South Africa is calling its erring leader, President Zuma to order, even calling for his resignation and maybe not as severely as South Africa’s case, but other African nations are likewise keeping their leaders in check and sharing their point of views across all media. The people are making it known that they will no longer be ignored.

Sudanese IDPs displaced by LRA attacks. The United Nations Deputy Special Representative and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Ms. Ameerah Haq, visited the Western Equatoria state capital Yambio to draw attention to the increasingly deadly attacks by the Ugandan LordÕs Resistance Army against civilians in Southern Sudan. Since the resurgence of LRA attacks in mid-December 2008 more than 72,000 Sudanese citizens have been internally displaced and more than 18,000 refugees have arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. In the last six weeks, 11 LRA attacks have been reported - seven of them in the first week of September. Ms. Haq said, ÒThe situation cannot be allowed to continue like this. Many innocent people are losing their lives every week, and the United Nations is very concerned about the killing, abduction, maiming and displacement of innocent civilians in the area. We call upon the perpetrators to stop this violence against civilians, especially women and children, and find a solution to the conflict. We also call upon the government to strengthen protection of the civilian population and ensure a safe environment so that humanitarian agencies can access the people in need.Ó

One only has to look at President Museveni’s move of blocking social media services during the last Ugandan elections or Nigeria’s lawmakers seeking to pass a bill to censor social media platforms to understand the impact of this new African stance. We are unhappy now but as we continue to tell our leaders why and demand that they act, maybe a future World Happiness Index will feature our continent being represented at better positions.

See Also: The Ghost Of Nene’s Sack Is Back To Haunt President Zuma