Angola is Africa’s happiest country, followed by Mauritius and Algeria, according to a new global survey of 156 countries released Monday.
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The southern African country surprisingly toppled last year’s leader, the perennial African paradise of Mauritius, according to the World Happiness Report 2013.
Angola, Zimbabwe and Albania experienced the largest increases across all the countries surveyed.
While “the world has become a slightly happier and more generous place over the past five years,” economic and political upheavals have resulted in greatly reduced levels of well being for some nations, the report said.
Algeria, Mauritius, Algeria, Libya and Nigeria are the top five happiest countries on the continent, while Ghana, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Lesotho are the next five African nations that are most content.
No African country ranked in the top 50 of the survey, now in its second year, while the five lowest ranked countries were from the continent.
The ranking also threw up some other surprises, including placing countries such as Somaliland, Zimbabwe and DR Congo well ahead of others perceived as more prosperous and stable such as Botswana, Senegal and Tanzania.
The report is sponsored by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network which was established by United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and comes ahead of the annual General Assembly.
Overall African rankings:
42-Central African Republic,
Egypt had the greatest fall in happiness levels. On a scale of 1 to 10 — with 10 rated as happiest — Egypt averaged 4.3 in 2012, compared to 5.4 in 2007.
World’s happiest nations
Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden are the world’s happiest countries, according to the survey of 156 countries. Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo — all nations in Sub-Saharan Africa — are the least satisfied with their lives, the report said.
The United States came in at number 17 in the world in terms of overall happiness, but it still lags behind Canada (6), Australia (10), Israel (11) the United Arab Emirates (14) and Mexico (16), according to the Earth Institute.
The report ranks the United Kingdom as the 22nd happiest country in the world. Other major nations included Germany (26), Japan (43), Russia (68) and China (93).