Not much to be happy about in a shithole country


In a conversation about immigration sometime back in 2018, President Donald Trump sparked “world-wide rage” when he referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and an assortment of African nations as “shithole countries” during a closed-door meeting with congressional leaders. Trump also reportedly complained that Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” and that Haitians had AIDS in what has been regarded as racially discriminatory against non-white and non-European immigrants.  In another conversation about Africa, President Donald Trump cited that is was “very difficult for ordinary people to live in certain African countries”. While we do not support the idea that certain countries are shitholes, we are inclined to agree with Trump that it is very difficult to live in certain countries. A report that vividly explains this point is the World Happiness Report.

The World Happiness Report ranks countries around the world by their subjective well-being and looks into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect happiness. The 2020 World Happiness Report uses six key variables to come up with national annual average scores over the period from 2005 to 2019. These variables are GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption.  Unsurprisingly, poor and more violent countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are the most miserable – there is little to celebrate in regions where GDP per capita is low and corruption in rampant. Zimbabwe is ranked number 151 out of 153 with a score of 3.299. Finland is number 1 and has a score of 7.809.

Global Happiness Dynamics

Source: World Happiness Report, 2020

Interestingly – in the same immigration conversation- President Donald Trump advocated that it made sense to have more people coming to America from places like Norway. Now, the five Nordic countries – Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland – have all been in the top ten of the Happiness Index.  Nordic countries have occupied the top three spots in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Explanations include factors related to the quality of institutions (reliable and extensive welfare benefits), low corruption and a well-functioning democracy. Furthermore, Nordic citizens experience a high sense of autonomy and freedom, as well as high levels of social trust towards each other. All these factors play an important role in determining life satisfaction.

Piggy has observed that one area that affects happiness or life satisfaction has to do with incomes. Not necessarily the capability to earn or generate an income but also the ability to preserve its value.  In a country where inflation hovers around 1,000%, and the exchange rate deteriorates every day, what do locals have to be happy about?  Piggy has consistently insisted investors to park ZWL balances in well managed, cash generative and export-oriented businesses on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).  More recently, the bulls have been raging on the ZSE following news on the ZWL18.0 billion stimulus package and rumours of money printing. However, one should always be concerned when the stock of Covid-19 hit tourism groups (with empty hotel rooms) like African Sun start booking 20% gains on a daily basis. Our advice is simple; Stick to Fundamentals! Buy into Ariston, Padenga Holdings, Simbisa Brands, Innscor Africa, OK Zimbabwe, Econet Wireless, Cassava, SeedCo and SeedCo International!

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