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[UN]–Despite the challenges of economy, security and infrastructure, Nigerians are the the sixth happiest people in Africa, according to the fifth annual report, released on Monday at the United Nations, that called on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the wellbeing of their citizens.
Algeria leads the rest of Africa in happiness, followed by Mauritius. Strife-torn Libya is surprisingly ranked third, ahead of Morocco. Somalia, another crisis-torn nation, is Africa’s fifth happiest country ahead of Nigeria and South Africa, ranked 7th. Tunisia is eighth and Egypt ninth, while Sierra Leone is tenth.
According to Jeffrey Sachs, the Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General,”happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government.”
He added that the essence of the report is to provide another tool for governments, business and civil society to help their countries find a better way to wellbeing.
Sachs explained that the rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.
According to the report, which was produced with the support of the Ernesto Illy Foundation, the lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables,”
Sachs would like nations to follow United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness. “I want governments to measure this, discuss it, analyze it and understand when they have been off on the wrong direction,” he said.
According to the report, “the average ladder scores for over four in five African countries are below the mid-point of the scale. And only two African countries have made significant gains in happiness over the past decade. There are also considerable inequalities in life evaluations in African countries, and this inequality in happiness has increased over the past years” .
The report also shows that Africans are optimistic about the future, with Nigerians the leaders in this regard.
“The majority of African countries rate life at present below the mid-point of the Cantril ladder scale in the latest available Gallup World Poll.
“This is not the case for average future ratings. Projected ladder ratings in five years’ time are uniformly higher than present evaluations across all countries on the continent. In fact, the percentage increase in future expectations of life is often higher among some of the least contented nations.
“Nigeria’s track record of such positive expectations is well documented. Cantril’s 1960s study already reported a difference of 2.6 points between the country’s average present (4.8) and future (7.4) ladder ratings.
“Similarly, in 2016, there is a difference of 2.9 points between Nigeria’s present (5.3) and future (8.2) ratings in the Gallup World Poll. An international study of comparative ladder ratings in ten countries with large populations, including China, India and the United States, found Nigeria’s 2.6 point difference between present and future ratings to be by far the largest.83 Nigeria’s spirit of optimism may be exceptional by world standards, but not in Africa.”
At the bottom ten of the report are Benin, Madagascar, South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the worst of them, Central African Republic.
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