Kenya loses love title to Rwanda

For some time now, Kenya has been losing to Rwanda on many fronts: The level of attracting investors, the determination to fight corruption and tribalism, and economic growth rate.

But now, Kenya seems to have lost the title of ‘East Africa’s most loving nation’ to Rwanda too.

According to findings by research organisation Gallup over the past six years, Rwanda is now a place where people get the feeling that they are most loved in Africa.

Over the six years, Gallup ran questionnaires through 136 countries posing the question: “Did you experience love for a lot of the day yesterday?” And tabulated the percentages of people who answered in the affirmative.

The full global ranking of countries was published yesterday by Bloomberg.

Although 93 per cent of 2,193 Filipinos interviewed said they had been shown love, Rwanda emerged as the best country in Africa for those in need of love.

In Kenya, 74 per cent of 1,965 respondents said they had been loved, but this placed the country 45 places behind Rwanda in the world and seven positions behind in Africa.

Kenya was still behind Nigeria who came second. Rumour has it that Nigerians like opening doors for women, and do other things Kenyans can’t compete with.

Tanzania’s score of 82 per cent might not surprise many, at least going by the songs their musicians produce.

But the findings showed that there is more love in Malawi (76 per cent), Ghana (76 per cent) and South Africa (76 per cent) than there is in Kenya.

Zambia got the same score as Kenya, but was ranked above because there was a larger sample size involved (1,971).

Kenyans might boast that they have been ranked in the top ten ahead of Ugandans (86th globally) who scored a paltry 66 per cent from a sample size of 1961.

On money and love, although money may buy gifts or pay the bill after dinner, the Gallup survey disabuses the notion that poverty is related to little love in a society.

For instance, it showed love is still plenty among the poor in Rwanda.

“Doubling your income is associated with being about four percentage points more likely to be loved. Perhaps having more money makes it easier to find time for love,” Prof Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers wrote about the findings in their analysis on Bloomberg on Wednesday.

Highest love ratios

“But love is still abundant in the poorer countries: People in Rwanda and the Philippines enjoyed the highest love ratios, with more than 9 in 10 people providing positive responses.”

So what is in this love marathon? According to Gallup, people in the world generally love each other. Two-thirds of the total worldwide sample said they had had love-filled days in one way or another.

However, this love was not necessarily romantic. The widowed and divorced reported less love experiences. Married people felt more love than singles although those cohabiting felt even more love than legal wedlocks.

The findings also showed that the elderly felt more love than those below 35, which could partly explain call-ins on radios by the young seeking lovers in Kenya.

“The findings indicate the kind of mind-sets that we have about love, romance or marriage,” said Mr Maurice Matheka, a relationship therapist in Nairobi who argued that the young have negative opinions of relationships inculcated in them by adults who failed to stick to any.

“Our mind-sets towards relationships are always preconceived. We enter relationships expecting that something will go wrong. And so, we don’t look further than the expectation that, for instance, after dinner, it would lead to sex,” he added.

So, it appears love does not have a proper definition in Kenya. Does it mean going out? Caring for each other, buying flowers or supporting each other’s course?

“Why should we express love today on a random Thursday that people are calling Valentines’ Day yet it is not even our concept?” asked Mr Matheka.

Perhaps we need not make Valentine’s Day a pain, but identify love as a daily chore.

Most loving countries:

  • 1. Rwanda (93 per cent)
  • 2. Nigeria (84 per cent)
  • 3. Tanzania (82 per cent)
  • 4. Madagascar (78 per cent)
  • 5. Malawi (76 per cent)
  • 6. Ghana (76 per cent)
  • 7. South Africa (76 p.c.)
  • 8. Zambia (74 per cent)
  • 9. Kenya (74 per cent)


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