Published every 3 years by the Global Happiness Council, the latest world Happiness Report published in 2018 ranked Rwanda 151st out of 156 countries, behind Syria. Finland, Norway and Denmark, ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively, are the countries where the population stands out as “the happiest in the world”. On the other end of the list we find Southern Sudan, the Central African Republic and Burundi closing the list.
The ranking is based on an analysis of data collected between 2015 and 2017 by the Gallup Institute specialized in global surveys. There is no change in the composition of the top ten countries, but Finland managed to snatch the first place from Switzerland.
The happiness index is calculated from an analysis of several criteria, the results of which are then converted into points: purchasing power, Healthy Life Expectancy, Social Support (defined as the ability to someone to count on in times of trouble), freedom to make life choices, generosity (defined also as the actions of making donations, supporting charities, etc.).), corruption perception, positive affect (measured by the average of three positive on the day before, they are : happiness, laugh and enjoyment) and the negative affect (measured by the as the average of three negative affect measures on the day before, they are worry, sadness and anger).
The countries at the top of the ranking are unsurprisingly those that receive the maximum positive feedback on the first six criteria.
Compared to the 2015 report, and thus between 2015 and 2017, Togo recorded the strongest increase by gaining 17 places on the list, going from 158th place with 2839 points to 139th place with 3999 points. Venezuela recorded the largest drop, from 23rd to 102nd place and from 6810 points to 4806 points.
Rwanda moved up three places in the ranking despite dropping points from 3465 points to 3408 points, while the Democratic Republic of Congo jumped from 132nd to 120th going from 4245 points to 4517 points. Burundi stagnates at the bottom of the list, it was second to last in the 2015 ranking ahead of Togo but this time ranked last while keeping the same number of points, 2906 points in 2015 for 2905 points in 2018.
Rwanda’s ranking is contrasts with the image often put forward: optical fibre, buildings that grow all over the country, cleanliness, discipline, double-digit economic growth…, but it is explained on the one hand by the extreme poverty that affects a majority of Rwandans, and on the other hand by the political climate prevailing in the country. Thus, Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, declared on August 09, 2018: “Most of our children are malnourished”.
Opponent Diane Rwigara’s statements also give an idea of this contrast in an interview with the British daily The Times in November 2018: “The only people enjoying Rwanda’s ‘stability’ are tourists, diplomats and foreigners”.
In addition, there is a generalized climate of fear, described by Victoire Ingabire in his interview with the Voice of America on 23 November 2018.
The full report at : https://s3.amazonaws.com/happiness-report/2018/WHR_web.pdf