Namibians are the eighth happiest on the African continent, happier than the South Africans, but less happy than the Zambians, who are ranked the seventh happiest people in Africa.
This is according to the latest World Happiness Report, compiled by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network of the United Nations. Released on March 20, the report ranks Namibia as the eighth happiest country in Africa and the 113th happiest country in the world, just below Iraq and Sierra Leone.
In total the top ten happiest countries in Africa are Algeria – which is ranked first – followed by Mauritius, Libya, Somalia, Tunisia, Nigeria, Zambia, Namibia, Ethiopia and South Africa.
According to the latest World Happiness Report six key factors were measured to establish a global ranking of the happiest countries – these are the GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption. For Namibia the GDP per capita was listed as the most important factor contributing to happiness, followed by social support and the freedom to make life choices. Equality of happiness was lower in Namibia than in Zambia, as it is among the seven countries in the world with the highest disparity in happiness.
Zambia is ranked seventh in Africa and 106th on the global list. The reason is that apparently people in Zambia found that social support was slightly more important than GDP per capita. Freedom to make life choices was also a key factor, putting the country at position 106 on the global list.
South Africa was ranked 10th among African countries and 157th on the global list. In South Africa, people listed GDP per capita and social support as major factors affecting their happiness.
Botswana is listed at 137th on the global list, below Haiti and Mali. Angola is at 141st position, below Cambodia and Ivory Coast.
The World Happiness Report 2016 Update, which ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, was released in Rome ahead of the UN World Happiness Day, which falls on March 20. The first report was published in 2012, the second in 2013, and the third in 2015.
Leading experts across fields – economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, health, public policy, and more – agree that measurements of wellbeing can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations.
As a new approach, the reports review the state of happiness in the world today and show how the new science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness. Advocates for the report say it reflects a new worldwide demand for more attention to the goal of maximising happiness as a basis for government policy.