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Ugandans the happiest in East Africa – report

Kenyans have been sulking more than Ugandans despite easing pandemic pains, a new report indicates.

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 report said Ugandans were the happiest people in the East African region, two places ahead of Kenya at number 117.

Rwanda was ranked the unhappiest 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 was ranked 139th and Ethiopia 131st.

Uganda’s first ranking in the region makes a joke of the strong economic status of Kenya – economists say Kenya’s economy is the strongest in the region.

But that does not seem to be felt in the daily lives of Kenya’s 50 million-plus citizens, though the report shows that last year it jumped two steps forward from position 121 to 119 of the 150 countries whose happiness was surveyed.

The factors

The survey findings – released Friday, ahead of the annual International Day of Happiness that was celebrated on Sunday, March 20 – showed a slight decline in the measure asking Kenyans to rate their life, dropping from 4.607 previously to 4.543.

Among factors the World Happiness Report considers in determining levels of happiness are people’s trust in government and institutions, poverty and conflicts.

“The findings demonstrate that communities with high levels of trust are happier and more resilient in the face of a wide range of crises,” the report states.

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

Kenya has for years been in the 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 was lost to graft.

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

Mauritius, ranked 52nd, was named the happiest in Africa, followed by Libya, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Gambia.