Saturday, June 22, 2024

There’s no joy in Botswana – report

Botswana is ranked third most unhappy nations by the World Happiness Report (WHR) of 2021 at number 146 out of 149 countries.

The ninth WHR is unlike any that have come before. It focused on the effects of Covid-19 and how people all over the world have fared.

“At the bottom, the lowest 11 countries in terms of WELLBYs include most of those, which are also lowest in well-being,” read the report.

These countries were India, Burundi, Yemen, Tanzania, Haiti, Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and Afghanistan according to their ranks. However, all underperforming countries listed did not have survey information in 2020. Their averages are based on the 2018-2019 surveys.

In the report’s foreword, the editors wrote: “Our aim was two-fold, first to focus on the effects of COVID-19 on the structure and quality of people’s lives and second to describe and evaluate how governments all over the world have dealt with the pandemic”.

So, countries that have done so much better than others are those where there is confidence in public institutions in handling the Covid-19 outbreak. COVID-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere.

According to the report, the biggest improvements in life expectancy were in the former Soviet Union, in Asia, and (the greatest) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

These were the regions that had the biggest increases in WELLBYs. “A natural name for the well-being experienced over one year is a Well-Being-Year or WELLBY,” the report explained.

To assess how different countries are performing, the report took life expectancy into account, as well as wellbeing.

“However, in 2020 life expectancy fell in most countries, though not enough to wipe out at world level the gains since 2006-08,” the report established. “At the same time, the economy shrank, and unemployment increased. But typically, those countries which controlled the virus best also experienced the least hit to the economy — there was no trade-off between these two outcomes,” the happiness report continued.

The World Happiness Report was written by a group of independent experts acting in their personal capacities.


Read this week's paper