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Insight & Analysis - June 17, 2022

5 African Countries With the Lowest Life Expectancy

Most African countries continue to have the lowest life expectancy in the world due to pervasive poverty, hunger, and sickness.

The fundamental indicator for gauging population health is life expectancy.

Life expectancy is a broader statistic than infant and child mortality, which focuses primarily on mortality at a young age. It encompasses mortality throughout one’s life. It provides information on the average age of death in a population.

According to estimates, In some African countries, life expectancy was roughly 30 years in all regions.

Here are 5 African countries with the lowest life expectancy. 


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1. Central Republic of Africa

The Central African Republic had the lowest life expectancy in Africa.

In 2022, the Central African Republic’s life expectancy is at 54.02 years, up 0.63 percent from 2021. While In 2021, the Central African Republic’s life expectancy was 53.68 years, up 0.63 percent from 2020.

Even though there has been an improvement in life expectancy in this country, Central African Republic still has the world’s lowest life expectancy and the sixth-highest death rate from infectious and parasitic diseases. 

The increase in mortality rate in the country is also due to seasonal epidemics, economic downturns, conflict, displacement, and a dysfunctional health system. 

2. Chad 

Chad is one of the world’s poorest countries, with the lowest life expectancy of any country.

At only 48 years old at birth, life expectancy is incredibly short. Natural calamities strike Chad on a regular basis. 

People in rural areas rely largely on agriculture, and droughts can have disastrous social consequences. Around 80% of the population relies on subsistence farming and livestock keeping.

3. Lesotho 

Lesotho’s current life expectancy for 2022 is 55.22 years, up 0.78 percent from 2021. Lesotho had a life expectancy of 54.79 years in 2021, up 0.79 percent from 2020.

The major factors contributing to Lesotho’s lower life expectancy are an infant mortality rate of 44.6 deaths per 1,000 births and a maternal mortality rate of 487 deaths per 100,000 births.

Lesotho is a developing country with a high prevalence of HIV and tuberculosis (TB), which has impacted many aspects of the country’s development, including human resource development. The recent pandemic has also had a significant impact on the country’s economy.

4. Nigeria

Nigeria has the fourth-lowest life expectancy in the world, at 55.75 percent. The country’s current life expectancy for 2022 is 55.44 years, up 0.57 percent from 2021. 

Nigeria’s life expectancy in 2021 was 55.12 years, up 0.57 percent from the previous year. Life expectancy in 2020 was 54.81 years, an increase of 0.58 percent from 2019.

Nigerian health officials claim that the country’s life expectancy is among the lowest in the world, with influenza and pneumonia being the most common causes of death. 

Severe air pollution in Nigeria’s Cross River state is causing an increase in respiratory ailment incidence.

5. Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s life expectancy increased by 0.68 percent from 54.7 years in 2019 to 55.1 years in 2020. 

Since 2010, when life expectancy increased by 1.89 percent, it has increased by 11.51 percent by 2020.

Most of the issues that have contributed to a short life expectancy include a lack of safe drinking water, adequate food, hygiene education, and a severe dearth of medical facilities and skilled medical professionals. Sierra Leone has one of the world’s highest rates of child mortality.


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