Uganda, here’s something to smile about: Ugandans are the happiest people in East Africa — or at least the researchers who prepared the United Nations’ second annual World Happiness Report believe so.
According to the report, Uganda was 2oth well above fellow East African nations Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi that were ranked 22nd, 39th, 40th and 41st respectively.
Angola scooped the number one position as Africa’s happiest country, followed by Mauritius and Algeria.
Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden are the world’s happiest countries, according to the survey of 156 countries.
Some 60 nations showed significant improvements in the study, which measured citizens’ own evaluations of their lives, while 41 others worsened. Gains were more common in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, while losses were more common among industrial countries.
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.
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).
The U.N. released the study to urge heads of state (who are preparing for the United Nations General Assembly in two week’s time) to find a way to put happiness on the global agenda, an idea first proposed in 1972 by the former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.
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.