Ces pays d’Afrique où il fait bon vivre

Lu par 800 Boytown

L’indice HPI mesure le niveau de bonheur d’un pays. Dans ce classement, les pays les plus heureux sont aussi les moins développés. Faut-il y voir un lien? Comment expliquer ce paradoxe apparent?

Où fait-il meilleur vivre en Afrique? Selon le dernier classement de Happy Planet Index (HPI), la majorité du continent se trouve en zone rouge —«malheureuse»—, à quelques exceptions près.

C’est en Algérie, en Tunisie et au Maroc qu’il y aurait le plus de bien-être «durable» en Afrique. Mais aussi, de manière plus surprenante, à Madagascar et au Malawi, de même qu’en Libye, en Egypte, en Ethiopie, en Namibie et auKenya —dans cet ordre. Ce sont les dix pays les plus heureux d’Afrique, à en croire le dernier classement de HPI.

L’indice HPI, mesure «verte» et subjective du bien-être

Ce palmarès, mis au point en 2006 par la New Economics Foundation, un think tank britannique, insiste particulièrement sur l’environnement. L’indice HPI se base en effet sur trois critères pour faire ses calculs: l’espérance de vie moyenne, le respect de l’environnement et la perception subjective du bien-être par les habitants.

HPI demande à un échantillon d’un millier de personnes dans chaque pays de donner une note «bonheur» allant de 1 à 10. Le bien-être, tel que le définit HPI, comprend notamment la qualité des services publics.

Du coup, les résultats de ce classement «écolo» n’ont rien à voir avec le seul niveau de développement économique ou des libertés politiques. Ils ne sont pas comparables avec l’Indice de développement humain (IDH), publié par le Programme des Nations unies pour le développement (PNUD), qui prend en compte l’espérance de vie et l’environnement, mais aussi des critères objectifs d’éducation, de revenu, d’inégalités, de pauvreté, de parité des sexes et de “durabilité” (taux d’épargne). Les données de HPI sont également éloignées de celles de l’ONG américaine Freedom House, qui se préoccupe surtout des libertés publiques et institutionnelles.

L’Algérie, longue vie et faible empreinte écologique

L’Algérie, consacrée pays le plus heureux d’Afrique, arrive en 26e position sur les 151 pays étudiés par HPI —loin derrière le Costa Rica, le Vietnam et la Colombie, les trois pays considérés comme les plus heureux en 2012.

Le pays d’Abdelaziz Bouteflika, classé entre le Pérou et la Jordanie, se distingue par une longueespérance de vie (73,1 ans), une perception du bien-être notée 5,2 et une empreinte carbone(émissions de CO2) qui ne dépasse pas les 1,6 hectare par habitant.

L’empreinte carbone n’est pas mesurée ici en tonnes de gaz émis par habitant, mais en surface de terres nécessaires par habitant pour soutenir le niveau de consommation d’un pays.

Pour mémoire, l’Algérie ne brille pas autant dans le dernier classement IDH publié en 2011 par les Nations unies. Elle s’y classe entre la Jordanie et le Sri Lanka, au 96e rang mondial sur une liste de 187 pays.

On peut par ailleurs se demander dans quelle mesure la note subjective de bonheur recueillie par HPI n’est pas faussée, dans certains pays, par la peur de déplaire aux autorité

Parmi les plus heureux viennent ensuite la Tunisie (39e au rang mondial), le Maroc (41e), Madagascar (49e) et le Malawi (72e). Puis, dans la seconde moitié de la liste de HPI, qui glisse vers une pente descendante, on trouve la Libye de 2011 (81e), l’Egypte (91e), l’Ethiopie (94e), la Namibie (96e) et le Kenya (98e).

Madagascar: plus heureuse que la France, malgré la pauvreté?

Le cas de Madagascar illustre bien la particularité des mesures de HPI. Ce pays, plongé depuis 2009 dans une profonde crise politique et sociale, glisse chaque jour un peu plus dans le gouffre de la pauvreté. Ce fléau touche 76% de sa population, contre 68% en 2010, selon le rapport  Perspectives économiques de l’Afrique de l’OCDE.

Magadascar figure aussi dans le groupe des pays à faible développement humain, arrivant 151e, entre le Cameroun et la Tanzanie, sur les 187 pays couverts par le rapport de l’IDH des Nations unies en 2011.

Mais le respect de l’environnement et le relatif optimisme de ses habitants jouent en faveur de la Grande île. Avec une empreinte carbone de seulement 1,2, Madagascar se classe avantageusement, dans le palmarès HPI, entre la France et l’Autriche. Deux pays d’Europe où le bien-être est respectivement noté 6,8 et 7,3 par leurs habitants, avec des espérances de vie de 81,5 et 80,9 ans. La note bonheur ne dépasse pas 4,9 à Madagascar, où l’espérance de vie plafonne à 66,7 ans. Ici, c’est l’environnement qui fait toute la différence.

Le Malawi, cinquième du classement mais ravagé par la misère

Il en va de même pour le Malawi, qui se classe entre l’Irlande et la Pologne chez HPI, et ce malgré une espérance de vie de 54 ans seulement, une note bonheur assez moyenne de 5,1 mais une empreinte carbone de 0,8 seulement.

Pour mémoire, le Malawi arrive 171e dans le classement IDH. Ce pays demeure l’un des plus pauvres du monde et il est ravagé par le sida. Le Malawi n’atteindra pas les Objectifs du millénaire pour le développement (OMD) à l’horizon 2015, en matière d’éducation primaire universelle, notamment.

Faut-il en conclure que le sous-développement équivaut au bonheur, tandis que l’industrialisation apporte son lot de pollution, de stress et de pessimisme? Au classement HPI, les pays les moins heureux d’Afrique sont ceux dont la réussite économique ou politique, paradoxalement, ont fait le plus parler d’eux.

Le Botswana, tranquille et prospère, arrive ainsi en toute dernière position, un peu avant le Mali d’avant la crise et l’Afrique du Sud, pourtant la locomotive économique du continent…

Lu par 800 Boytown

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