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10 African countries with the highest suicide rate

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While the continent often grapples with pressing issues such as poverty, infectious diseases, and political instability, the issue of suicide remains largely hidden from the public eye.

It is a multifaceted issue influenced by a range of socioeconomic, cultural, and psychological factors, including mental health problems, socioeconomic challenges, conflict and displacement, child abuse, gender disparity, and substance abuse, amongst others.

Accurate statistics on suicide in Africa are challenging to obtain due to underreporting, stigma, and limited data collection resources.

However, the available data suggests that the suicide rate is on the rise in several African countries.

One of the most credible data available on the number of suicides experienced across every region on the continent is the World Health Organization’s comparable estimates on suicide rates, included in its 2023 World Health Statistics Report. Here, the suicide rate of over 90% of the world is listed.

According to the research, the fast improvement seen for a number of indicators during the Millennium Development Goals era has slowed significantly after 2015, posing a challenge to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) objectives by 2030.

This is evident by indices such as the maternal mortality ratio, under-five and newborn death rates, premature mortality from major NCDs, and suicide and road traffic mortality rates declining year after year.

The suicide rate varies across Africa, with some regions and countries experiencing higher rates than others. The report lists the suicide mortality rate of every country per 100,000 population.

Below are 10 African countries with the highest suicide rate. Based on this list, Southern Africa records the highest rates of suicides on the continent.

Rank Country Suicide mortality
rate (per 100 000 population)

1.

Lesotho

72.4

2.

Eswatini

29.4

3.

South Africa

23.5

4.

Botswana

16.1

5.

Zimbabwe

14.1

6.

Mozambique

13.6

7.

Cabo Verde

12.9

8.

Central Africa Republic

12.3

9.

Eritrea

10.9

10.

Namibia

9.7

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