What you need to know:
- Finland retained its top position globally, with Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway following in that order.
- In Africa, Libya tops the list at position 80, followed by Cote d’Ivoire (85), Benin (86), CongoBrazzaville (88) and Ghana (91). Kenya is position 18 on the continent.
- The World Happiness study is conducted every year by the Earth Institute of Columbia University.
Kenya is the happiest country in East and Central Africa, a new report by the United Nations says.
The study says Kenyans are more positive and hopeful than citizens of the other countries in the region.
Even though the 2020 World Happiness Report ranks Kenya at a lowly position 121 out of 153 countries studied, Nairobi still tops the region whose countries are among the bottom 10.
Finland retained its top position globally, with Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway following in that order.
In Africa, Libya tops the list at position 80, followed by Cote d’Ivoire (85), Benin (86), CongoBrazzaville (88) and Ghana (91). Kenya is position 18 on the continent.
The performance of EAC countries on the world map is dismal.
Uganda trails Kenya at position 126, Burundi (140), Tanzania (148), Rwanda (150) and South Sudan almost touching the bottom were it not for war-torn Afghanistan.
The rankings are based on several parameters, including social support, Gross Domestic Product, per capita income, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perception on corruption.
The World Happiness study is conducted every year by the Earth Institute of Columbia University.
It is supported by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, United Kingdom, and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
Although the performance of the EAC bloc is generally disheartening, it fares better compared with other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Seventeen countries climbed the happiness ladder while 13 others lost their places.
Still in EAC, only Kenya and Burundi made improvements in the happiness index, while Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan recorded negative scores.
“Among the 20 top gainers — all of which showed average ladder scores increasing by more than 0.75 points — 10 are in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) or Central and Eastern Europe, and six are in Sub-Sahara,” the report reads in part. The CIS are countries that made up the Soviet Union.
However, among the 20 largest losers — all of which show ladder reductions exceeding 0.45 points — seven are in sub-Sahara, five in Latin America and the Caribbean Sea, three in the Middle East and North Africa and two in the CIS.
“The appearance of Sub-Sahara among the biggest gainers and losers reflects a variety and volatility of experiences in these countries,” the document concludes.
Capital cities were also ranked according to how positively their inhabitants evaluate their lives on average and how positively their inhabitants evaluate their expected future.
The researchers measured issues such as positive affect, defined as the average of laughter and enjoyment, and negative affect, defined as the average of previous-day measures for worry, sadness and anger.
Nairobi tops African cities at position 56 on future life evaluation.
It is first in the EAC bloc, where Mogadishu comes second with 98, Dar es Salaam (138), Kigali (156) and Juba (169).
On positive effect, Mogadishu beats Nairobi to first in Africa. Nairobi comes in at position 81.
Nairobi makes a comeback, coming at 38 globally and first in Africa in terms of less negative affect.