Rwanda, a country that has grown from a genocide-torn society to one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, now has the happiest people in Africa.

Just about a decade ago, things looked gloomy for Rwanda. The 1994 genocide–which had about 1 million people killed, (20 percent of the country’s total population and 70 percent of the Tutsi)–destroyed Rwanda’s fragile socio-economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and stifled the country’s ability to attract private and external investment.

However, since the assumption into office of Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s current president, 15 years ago, the East African country has recorded tremendous strides in driving forward its economy as well as banishing memories of the bitter 100-day-long genocide. The agrarian economy is now ranked third best in Africa for doing business, topped only by Mauritius and South Africa.

Rwanda was ranked the world’s 15th happiest, out of 143 countries, with Kenya, its East African neighbour, coming in as Africa’s runner up.

The results were released to coincide with the United Nations’ third annual International Day of Happiness on March 20, 2015. It covered a sample space with a minimum of 1,000 adults in each of the 143 countries.

The top 10 happiest countries were all from Latin America, led by Paraguay. The two countries with the worst happiness ratings, were Sudan and Tunisia, both in Africa.

By George Mpofu


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