Alcohol is a universal beverage, but the rate of consumption in Africa is particularly on the high side. However, it is not all African countries that are guilty of this outrageous alcohol consumption. There are those ones I’ll love to call “The Chiefest of Drunkards”. The surprising aspect of it is that according to latest records, the countries you may think will top this list could scarcely be found here. Based on the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, the following African countries reported the highest annual alcohol consumption on the continent, measured by the amount of pure ethyl alcohol consumed per capita, per year in people aged 15 and above.
10. Tanzania – 7.7 Litres per capita, per annum
Tanzania is not known to be a rich country, with almost half of the population living below a dollar per day. This may be the reason for their resorting to locally made alcohol which is cheaper and of course more highly concentrated. Hence, only 0.2% comes from wine, 11% from beer, 1.8% from spirits, and a whopping 87% from other types uncounted for. It was discovered that more than 25% of males consume excessive alcohol, while almost 15% of women do same in Tanzania. Excessive alcohol consumption and abuse have continued to be on the increase in the country such that the government is working seriously towards making provisions for the treatment of ailments or disorders emerging from excessive alcohol drinking and dependency.
9. Botswana – 7.96 Litres per capita, per annum
The diamond-rich Botswana also consumes a lot of alcohol, with 42% coming from categories that were not accounted for, 57% goes to beer, and this may be due to the high consumption of Botswana’s national beer, St Louis. Though many (locals and visitors alike) say that St. Louis is worse than the cheapest light beers found elsewhere in the world. In its place, many go for beer imports from nearby South Africa or Namibia.
8. Gabon – 9.32 Litres per capita, per annum
The preferred type of alcoholic drink for Gabonians is clear. While 10% and 22% of alcohol consumption in Gabon come from wine and spirits respectively, 68% comes from beer. Gabon is a dream nation for all alcohol aficionado because it has the cheapest priced alcoholic beverages in Africa and only second to the Russian Federation in the world. This is so mostly because alcohol importation is tax-free in the country. Gabon’s Regab is also the cheapest alcohol in the country which could cost as low as $0.7.
7. South Africa – 9.46 Litres per capita, per annum
South Africa is a country with a rich economy. Therefore it is not surprising that 56% of their alcohol consumption comes from legally brewed Beer, while 17%, 16%, and 11% come from wine, spirits, and “other types” respectively. South African is among the African countries where alcohol is enjoyed the most, this is most noticeable in the numerous beer joints and bars which characterize the streets and roads of the country. Alcohol is easily purchased from bottle stores, supermarkets, bars and shebeens and other unlicensed liquor outlets, which outnumber licensed ones, particularly in disadvantaged communities. It is also well promoted in ceremonies and social gatherings.
6. Burundi – 9.47 Litres per capita, per annum
Just 0.1% above South Africa, Burundi is another country that cares nothing about wines and spirits as these did not make up even a percentage of their alcohol intake. Locally made alcohol took a big chunk of 81% while beer took the remaining 19%. Their favourite alcoholic drink is actually the one they call ‘Urwarwa’, that is, banana wine. According to discoveries, 24% of Burundi youths start regular intake of alcoholic drinks even before the age of 13.
5. Namibia – 9.62 Litres per capita, per annum
Namibia is quite diversified in their choice of kinds of alcohol, just like South Africa. However, beer still carries the most weight with 67% of alcohol consumption. Spirits make up 20%, wine makes up 7% and “other categories” at 6%. Taking the fifth place in the list of most alcohol drinking countries in Africa, Namibia is known for a high rate of all kinds of alcohol intake.
4. Kenya – 9.72 Litres per capita, per annum
Alcohol is so much cherished in Kenya that women are not left out in the enjoyment. Unlike in most African countries where men dominate in drinking alcohol, Kenyan women also drink as much alcohol as the men. Some of the popular beer brands in Kenya include Tusker Lager, Tusker Premium Lager. There are other alcoholic brands in Kenya and the consumption of wine is also rampant, but only among the very elite and rich.
3. Rwanda – 9.8 Litres per capita, per annum
A percentage as great as 92% of their total alcohol intake goes to alcohol types such as the banana beer, urgwagwa, and the fermented honey drink, ubuki, ikigage, made from dry sorghum, etc. Only a meagre 8% goes to beer. Drinking of alcohol is virtually a way of life in Rwanda. It is readily available at cheap cost, especially, the locally made ones.
2. Uganda – 11.93 Litres per capita, per annum
Uganda is the chief home of locally made alcohol. The famous Ugandan Waragi, which contains around 42% of alcohol, is one of the most alcoholic spirits in the world. But this can cover a wide variety of drinks: pombe and lubisi, or locally made banana or millet beer, tonto, a traditionally fermented drink made from bananas, banana wine, and many more. Intake of colossal amounts of potent gins and other forms of crude liquor in mostly poverty-stricken rural communities and urban slums has raised health alarm amid declining productivity by affected youth. Uganda’s endowed mostly take beer as well in generous quantities that police recently stepped up surveillance to catch intoxicated motorists and pedestrians in the country.
1. Nigeria – 12.28 Litres per capita, per annum
Nigeria, popularly known as the giant of Africa has also emerged the “giant of alcoholism” in Africa! Richly blessed with the natural alcohol known as palm wine, the one that comes from raffia palm, Nigeria’s consumption of domestically made alcohol takes 84% of her total alcohol consumption. In Nigeria, even kids take this local palm wine. It is mostly enjoyed in the numerous bush bars scattered all over the country, as well as during traditional ceremonies. A lot of Nigerian families in the villages have it at their beck and call, in fact, each family produces for her own consumption, even including it in the family menu. All these, in addition to their enormous population, is exactly how Nigeria emerged no.1 in drinking alcohol in the entire African continent.
Before we end this story, we’d love to lay emphasis on the fact that excessive alcohol consumption is very harmful to your health, so keep those bottles down and you will stay around a lot longer.