12 countries with the highest and lowest life expectancy

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According to a study published by the WHO on August 4, “healthy” life expectancy in Africa increased by nine years between 2000 and 2019, rising from 47 to 56 years – 64 years above the global average. Progress has not been consistent, with less efficient countries in relatively prosperous countries.

Life expectancy has improved the most in the world over the last twenty years.” Perfect health “. In other words, the length of time individuals live without disease is a different indicator of overall life expectancy.

Key explanation for improvement: Access to basic health services has doubled. It rose from 24% in 2000 to 46% in 2019. Global Health Security Monitoring in the African Region From the World Health Organization (WHO). The report provides statistics by sub-region, but not by country. East Africa and the eight ICAT countries have made the most progress, with healthy life expectancy rising from 43 and 45 in 2000 to 58 and 57 in 2019.

North Africa is close to the world average with 63 years, while the three sub-regions of Central, Southern and West Africa lag behind with 54, 55 and 56 years respectively. Healthy life. Two interpretations are presented by the report: on the one hand, the efficiency of health services relative to investment in public health expenditure, and on the other hand, “ High-income and upper-middle-income countries in most cases have higher health coverage indices and life expectancy at birth than low-income countries. ».

The Central African Republic holds the world record for lowest life expectancy

World Bank figures confirm the Maghreb’s clear lead (see table) in terms of life expectancy in general, regardless of whether one is ill or not. Countries such as the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Chad and Lesotho that are in conflict, poor and/or under-invested in health are surprisingly at the back of the pack.

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In Nigeria, as in other oil-producing countries, the situation is exacerbated by social inequality. Massive brain drain Health workers are attracted by better working conditions abroad. The same is true in Egypt, where there is 1 doctor per 1,240 people (compared to 1 per 5,000 inhabitants in Nigeria) and an average life expectancy of 72 years. Egypt, like other North African countries, has completed its demographic transition, accompanied by declines in birth and death rates and investments in health.

12 African countries with the highest life expectancy © RFI Graphic Studio

Also, why do people live ten years longer in Senegal than in Cote d’Ivoire, where life expectancy in countries like Somalia and South Sudan is less than 57 years? And this, the failings of a public hospital in Senegal make headlines…

« Senegal has more media, but just like Benin, Côte d’Ivoire has regular scandals. Explain Gilles YapiFounder of the West African Think Tank (WATHI). Senegal has made more progress in terms of maternal and newborn health than anywhere else in the sub-region. However, the health of children aged 0-5 greatly affects life expectancy, in addition to social factors that are difficult to measure, such as lifestyle, physical activity and diet. ».

Côte d’Ivoire at the same level as Somalia

Africa’s only two high-income countries, Seychelles and Mauritius, are doing well, but money doesn’t always equal longevity. “ The link to GDP per capita is not necessarily more decisive than public investment in health. said Mabingué Ngom, Special Adviser to the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Director of the UNFPA Office for the African Union.

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Equatorial Guinea, home to 1.4 million people, has a lower life expectancy than Guinea-Bissau, while its income is ten times higher. Another notable interest: in Mali and Cameroon, GDP per capita almost doubles, and people don’t live more than 59 years on average.

12 African countries with the lowest life expectancy
12 African countries with the lowest life expectancy © RFI Graphic Studio

In Gabon, where prevention and the fight against cancer are less neglected, life expectancy is six years longer than in neighboring Congo, 60 years in Kinshasa, as in Brazza.

For South Africa, it was at the same level as Comoros, Liberia and Ghana, at 64 in 2019. These are the three countries farthest from industrialization. The toll taken by the AIDS virus changed everything in the 2000s, with today accounting for 19% of 15-49 year olds living with HIV. Life expectancy at birth without HIV/AIDS, which accounts for 23% of deaths, averaged 69 years in 2019, according to Statistics SA. The ravages caused by Covid-19 have compounded AIDS and reduced life expectancy. Three years of South Africa. It will rise to 61 in 2021, the same as Burundi, one of Africa’s poorest countries.

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