Here are the 3 African countries with the heaviest drinkers

Man drinking alcohol (for illustrative purposes)
  • WHO’s Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 has revealed the countries with the heaviest consumers of alcohol.
  • Based on the findings of the research, Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa takes a look the African nations with the heaviest drinkers
  • We also look at the health and social consequences of harmful alcohol use.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released the Global status report on alcohol and health for 2018.

According to the research, there has been an increase in alcohol consumption since 2000 in most parts of the world bringing the number of current drinkers to about 2.3 billion.

The report findings show that an estimated 31 percent of the world’s population (15 and above) are heavy drinkers, who consume an average of 32.8 grams of pure alcohol daily.

Here are the top three African countries with the highest amount of alcohol consumption:

South Africa

WHO’s research places South Africa as the country with the highest reported alcohol consumption in the continent. The report states that this nation has the fifth-highest consumption rate in the world.

With 59% of the drinking population drinking over 60 grams of pure alcohol on at least one occasion over 30 days, the majority of South African alcohol consumers are classified as heavy or binge drinkers.

The report showed that most of the alcohol consumed by South Africa is beer (56 percent), followed by wine and spirits (both 18 percent).

Roughly one in ten deaths of a total of approximately 529,400 deaths have been attributed to alcohol use (72.2 percent). 


Next on the list is this North African country with 36.6 litres of pure alcohol consumption — per capita — a year. WHO’s research show that Tunisia is a beer-drinking country. The rest drink wine (23.9 percetn) and spirits (3.8 percent).


The report places eSwatini at 34.4 litres of pure alcohol consumption — per capita — a year. 

Other findings:

  • One quarter (25.5%) of all alcohol consumed worldwide is a form of unrecorded alcohol.
  • 44.8% of the total recorded alcohol worldwise consumed in the form of spirits, followed by beer (34.3%) and wine (11.7%). 
  • Over a quarter (26.5%) of all 15–19-year-olds worldwide are current drinkers.
  • Overall, 1 in 20 deaths is as a result of the harmful use of alcohol. Alcohol consumption is also responsible for over 5% of the global disease burden.

“Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies.”


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