Kenya ranked 27th unhappiest nation in new UN report

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Kenya ranked 27th unhappiest nation in new UN report


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Summary

  • The annual World Happiness Report ranks Kenya at number 119 out of 146 countries in global happiness, barely unchanged from 121 out of 149 countries surveyed in 2021.
  • The findings of the 10th report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network suggest Kenya is the 27th unhappiest nation in the world.
  • Respondents cited the perception of widespread corruption in government as the biggest driver of negative emotions.

Kenya’s happiness levels have largely remained unchanged despite easing pandemic pains, a UN survey found.

The annual World Happiness Report ranks Kenya at number 119 out of 146 countries in global happiness, barely unchanged from 121 out of 149 countries surveyed in 2021.

The findings of the 10th report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network suggest Kenya is the 27th unhappiest nation in the world.

Respondents cited the perception of widespread corruption in government as the biggest driver of negative emotions.

In Africa, the country has been ranked 23rd in the report which covers three years through 2021, a position lower than the year before.

The survey findings, released Friday ahead of the annual International Day of Happiness celebrated Sunday (March 20), showed a slight decline in the measure used to ask Kenyans to rate their lives from 4,607 previously to 4,543.

The report ranks Uganda two places ahead of Kenya at number 117. Rwanda was ranked the most unhappy country in the six-nation East African Community bloc and fourth-worst globally ahead of Zimbabwe, Lebanon and Afghanistan (the unhappiest in the world).

Tanzania is ranked at number 139 out of the 146 countries globally, while Ethiopia is at position 131.

The researchers arrive at the rankings by asking respondents in the countries surveyed to assess and rate life with a score of 10 as the best possible life for them and zero as the worst possible condition.

Assessment of happiness that can be used by countries to improve the well-being of citizens and enact policies for sustainable development.

GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and corruption are the variable factors the researchers use in explaining variations in life evaluations across the countries surveyed.

Kenya has for years been in global spotlight for corruption largely in public procurement, with former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chairman Philip Kinisu estimating in March 2016 that as much as a third of the annual budget is lost to graft.

This translates to about Sh900 billion every year, or Sh2.45 billion daily, given the annual budget of about Sh3 trillion. President Uhuru Kenyatta appeared to acknowledge this in January 2021 when he said that corruption sucks about Sh2 billion daily from public coffers.

The Happiness report shows Kenyans assigned a score of 1.03 on GDP per capita – used to compare average living standards and economic wellbeing of individuals in different countries.

The score on the freedom to make life choices was 0.44, social support (0.61), healthy life expectancy (0.40) and generosity (0.32).

Globally, Finland has been named the happiest country for the fifth year in a row, followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands in that order of top five.

Mauritius, which is ranked 52nd in the world, has been named the happiest in Africa, followed by Libya, Ivory Coast, South Africa and the Gambia.

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