Burundi Is The Unhappiest Place On Earth, And Might Have To Wait Until 2034 To Smile Again

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BURUNDI’S government repeatedly insists the country is no longer in a state of crisis three years after President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement that he would run for a third term in office (widely deemed unconstitutional) prompted street protests, a heavy-handed response from security forces, and an attempted coup.

Since then, tens of thousands of people have fled the country.

A few days ago, the ruling CNDD-FDD party bestowed Nkurunziza with the title of “Eternal Supreme Guide”, and in May a referendum could extend his rule at least until 2034. The country might have to wait for a long time to cheer up, if Nkurunziza’s record doesn’t change.

The government’s rose-tinted glasses may have turned a bit greyer last week when the annual World Happiness Report, which ranks 156 countries according to income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity, demoted Burundi from second-last place to the unhappiest country in the world.

Notably, there are five other nations – Rwanda, Yemen, Tanzania, South Sudan and the Central African Republic – which report happiness levels below that of even Syria.

The report found that Finland is the happiest country in the world, followed by Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.


(2017 ranking in brackets)

  1. Finland (5)
  2. Norway (1)
  3. Denmark (2)
  4. Iceland (3)
  5. Switzerland (4)
  6. Netherlands (6)
  7. Canada (7)
  8. New Zealand (8)
  9. Sweden (10)
  10. Australia (9)


(2017 ranking in brackets)

  1. Malawi (136)
  2. Haiti (145)
  3. Liberia (148)
  4. Syria (152)
  5. Rwanda (151)
  6. Yemen (146)
  7. Tanzania (153)
  8. South Sudan (147)
  9. Central African Republic (155)
  10. Burundi (154)





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