The world’s most miserable countries has been identified, and Zimbabwe tops the list.
This is supported by an annual “misery index,” which scores over 160 countries based on variables such as unemployment rates, inflation rates, and bank lending rates.
The African nation with 16 million citizens, has now ranked among the top five depressing nations for three years in a row.
In the annual report, it was claimed that Robert Mugabe’s brutal rule of Zimbabwe turned his country into an international outcast, mired in corruption, violence, and an economic crisis that reduced tens of thousands to grinding poverty.
The mineral-rich country is still living with the economic fallout from Mugabe’s 37-year reign.
Behind Zimbabwe in Hanke’s Annual Misery Index is Venezuela, which has also been plagued by ‘economic mismanagement’, and Syria, which has been embroiled in a horrific civil war for more than a decade.
Professor Steve Hanke, the economist behind the ranking said one of the biggest factors behind Zimbabwe’s ‘most miserable’ ranking is its political party ruling with an ‘iron grip’. There have been allegations of rigging and violence around elections over the last three decades.
And under Mugabe and his successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa, it has suffered two episodes of hyperinflation, when prices rise by 50 percent or more month-on-month.
The plummeting value of its currency resulted in shocking scenes of people filling buckets with cash just to purchase a loaf of bread.
He said: ‘With elections around the corner, [opposition leader] Nelson Chamisa and his Citizens Coalition for Change is polling well, and, on the assumption that there will be fair and free elections in Zimbabwe, he just might pull Zimbabwe out of the gutter.’
Along with Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Syria, Lebanon, and Sudan are also among the most miserable.
Venezuela has suffered two episodes of hyperinflation under President Nicolas Maduro, who has now been in office for ten years.
Professor Hanke said: “Since Maduro came to power in 2013, it has also seen the oil production of its state-owned oil company PDVSA collapse by 76 percent.”
“No wonder more than 7million Venezuelans have fled their homeland since 2015. They’re miserable,'”Professor Hanke said.
See photo of top 20 list below: