These Are The 10 Happiest/Saddest African Countries – World Happiness Report 2020

By  |  March 20, 2020

Although the world may not be having one of its best moments as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc globally, a research network affiliated to the United Nations (UN) has today released the World Happiness Report for this year.

The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.

The World Happiness Report 2020 for the first time ranked cities around the world by their subjective well-being and dug more deeply into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect people’s happiness.

This year’s results are based on data from an average of three years of surveys between 2014 and 2018, meaning there’s overlap in the data from previous years. 

Factors such as gross domestic product, social support from friends and family, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceived corruption, and recent emotions — both happy and sad — all play a part in ranking the world’s happiest and saddest nations.

A number of African countries/cities were accounted for in the global happiness index, though even the best-ranking ones are found at the sad end of the pile. 

According to World Happiness Report 2020, these are the 10 happiest African countries/cities in the world:

City/Country (Global Ranking)

  1. Algiers/Algeria (93rd)
  2. Niamey/Niger (100th)
  3. Port-Louis/Mauritius (104th)
  4. Tripoli/Libya (111th)
  5. Benghazi/Libya (112th)
  6. Johannesburg/South Africa (120th)
  7. Mogadishu/Somalia (123rd)
  8. Freetown/Sierra-Leone (125th)
  9. Accra/Ghana (129th)
  10. Cape Town/South Africa (130th)

In the ranking of cities’ happiness around the world, World Happiness Report 2020 first looked at current life evaluation – an evaluative measure of subjective well-being and the main outcome – and then contrasted the findings with those on expected future life evaluation of cities’ inhabitants. 

Looking at the ranking from the bottom end which features the world’s least happy countries/cities, there were quite a number of African entries.

These are the 10 least happy African countries/cities in the world:

City/Country (Global Ranking)

  1. Juba/South Sudan (182nd)
  2. Dar-es-salaam/Tanzania (181st)
  3. Bangui/Central African Republic (178th)
  4. Cairo/Egypt (177th)
  5. Kigali/Rwanda (176th)
  6. Kumasi/Ghana (175th)
  7. Khartoum/Sudan (174th)
  8. Monrovia/Liberia (173rd)
  9. Antananarivo/Madagascar (172nd)
  10. Harare/Zimbabwe (171st)

East Africa’s largest economy, Kenya, ranks 14th in Africa and 139th globally on the happiness rankings.

In what was a rather curious absence, there was no room for Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, Nigeria, on the rankings.

Finland was once again crowned as the world’s happiest country for the third year running, extending its lead over Denmark and Switzerland. The United States occupies the 18th spot and the worst ranking country on the list was Afghanistan which occupied the last spot.

However, in a separate ranking highlighting which countries have seen the most positive changes and witnessed the most significant happiness boost between 2005 and 2013, there were 6 African countries/cities in the top 10 with Cote d’Ivoire taking first place globally.

10 Most Improved African Territories In World Happiness Report 2020

City/Country (Global Ranking)

  1. Abidjan/Cote d’Ivoire (1st)
  2. Cotonou/Benin (5th)
  3. Dakar/Senegal (7th)
  4. Conakry/Guinea (8th)
  5. Niamey/Niger (9th)
  6. Brazzaville/Congo Brazzaville (10th)
  7. Ouagadougou/Burkina Faso (11th)
  8. Freetown/Sierra-Leone (12th)
  9. Douala/Cameroon (15th)
  10. Libreville/Gabon (18th)

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