Nigeria has been ranked the 95th happiest nation of the world and sixth in Africa in the 2017 World Happiness Report.
The ranking assessed 155 countries by their happiness levels.
It was released on Monday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) as part of the United Nations (UN)’s International Day of Happiness on March 20.
According the report, Nigeria advanced from the 103rd position in the world and maintained its stand as the sixth happiest country in Africa as indicated by 2016 happiness ranking.
Nigeria’s position showed that in spite of its current economic recession and security challenges, its citizens remained happy.
Algeria maintained its lead as the happiest country in Africa, followed by Mauritius, while crisis-torn Libya is surprisingly ranked third ahead of Morocco.
The report also indicated that Somalia, another crisis-torn nation, is Africa’s 5th happiest country ahead of Nigeria and South Africa which ranked 7th.
Tunisia is placed at number eight; Egypt stands at nine and Sierra Leone in the 10th position.
At the bottom 10 are Republic of Benin, Madagascar, South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the most unhappy, Central African Republic.
On the global stage, Norway has trumped Denmark as the world’s happiest country in a report that calls on nations to build social trust and equality to improve wellbeing.
Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden rounded out the top 10 countries.
Germany was ranked 16th, the U.K, 19th and France 31st while U.S. dropped one spot to 14th.
According to the report, countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen were the least happy.
South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Central African Republic were at the bottom.
“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,” Jeffrey Sachs, the director of SDSN and a special advisor to the UN Secretary-General, said in an interview.
Sachs said the U.S. is falling in the ranking due to inequality, distrust and corruption. Economic measures that the administration of President Donald Trump is trying to pursue, he added, will make things worse.
“They are all aimed at increasing inequality, tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the healthcare rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels in order to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction,” he explained.
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, analyse it and understand when they have been off on the wrong direction,” he said.
The World Happiness Report, an initiative of the UN, is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness, aimed at influencing government policy.
The report reviews the state of happiness in the world and shows how the new science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness.
It reflects a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness as criteria for government policy.
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.
The lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables.
Download the full report HERE.
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