Alcohol consumption is a difficult thing to categorize either as a good thing, or as a bad thing. Nevertheless, the most alcoholic countries in Africa are those that consume most of the substance, and so enjoy the benefits or suffer the consequences the most.
It must be stated that there are conflicting signals, and the information is not exactly clear. For example, one source places Gambia ahead of Nigeria, whereas the former’s population is only a fraction of that of the later.
Informal sales of locally made alcohol such as Umqombothi in South Africa, Ogogoro in Nigeria, and Malwa in Uganda are often not included in the sales figures. Nevertheless, if the people can consume beer in these quantities then perhaps local brews will not change the figures significantly.
Most Alcoholic Countries In Africa
Nigeria is arguably the most alcoholic country in Africa; in West Africa there is no challenger for the position. Interestingly, the country’s alcohol consumption has been well mapped; in the north is less than 5%, while 95% of the alcohol is consumed in the south of the country, with the South South region accounting for the highest percentage.
Beer consumption constitutes about 16% of all alcoholic beverages consumed, while gin and brandy are also very popular.
Nigeria’ alcohol industry is quite well developed because there are many small breweries making both beer and spirits, and their sales are quite well documented. Nevertheless, Ogogoro, which is a local gin (ethanol) remains very popular; outselling beer and other types of alcohol by quite some distance.
All the expensive brands of alcohol are available in Nigeria; although their sales figures are not expected to be anywhere near that of beer.
2. Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast has a population of around 27 million. However, this West African country’s power comes from the fact that it is a lot more civilized than many other countries on the continent, as shown by the fact that women are not forced to the background, but are given equal representation in everything- including beer consumption.
In the Ivory Coast no occasion is complete without alcohol, and no consideration is made for gender. It is common to find men and women sitting together at the same table, while the table is covered with bottles.
Even traditional events such as marriages often have alcohol paid as tribute to women just as it is given to the men. Beer is heavily consumed in Ivory Coast, but traditional ethanol based tinctures are also very popular.
Cameroon is a country where the nightlife can get very wild. Alcohol is the fuel that keeps nightlife going; and it is consumed in great quantities in that country. Cameroon has a population of about 27.2 million people, and if each person takes a bottle of beer per day, it means 27 million bottles are consumed every day.
Beer is the common drink served in hotels, clubs and bars, but available data indicates that locally brewed spirits are the most preferred types of alcoholic drinks in the country. As with most of the continent, the exact amount of local brew consumed can only be estimated; and the given figures are quite conflicting.
Uganda is an east African country with a population of about 45 million. The country is not particularly rich, but perhaps poor people consume even more alcohol than rich people. Uganda has many hotels, bars, and drinking spots scattered around the country, and alcohol consumption is said to be just behind that of Cameroon.
Of course, there is nightlife in Uganda, but nowhere near as debauched as that of Cameroon. Available information states that brewed brands make up 94% of alcohol consumption in that country, while local brews make up 4%.
The local brews in Uganda are quite famous; tourists who visit the country have been known to enjoy local brews such as Malwa and Tonto.
Kenya has a population of 53 million, and is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. Exactly what part alcohol consumption plays in the growth of its economy is not clear; but available data shows that tourism is an important sector in the country; and that it contributes to the country’s GDP.
Kenyans mostly drink beer, but they also drink locally brewed gins and tinctures. Kenya has a very interesting nightlife; the people love to party, and at such occasions beer flows freely. Local gins are available almost everywhere, including bus parks.
Rwanda is a country in east Africa; however, it has a population of 30 million which doesn’t look like it can support heavy consumption of alcohol. The available data indicates that locally brewed alcohol makes up about 92% of consumption, while beer brands making up 8% of what is consumed.
However, Rwanda is a popular tourist’s hotspot; tourism makes up an important part of the country’s GDP, and also constitutes the highest source of foreign exchange.
While the exact number of yearly visitors are not available; there is no doubt that the millions of visitors to the country also push up alcohol consumption figures, especially as they are eager to taste the local brews which the people are so proud of.
7. South Africa
Nobody is prouder of their local brew than South Africans. A commenter said he was sure that there was no South African (whether White or Black) who had not tasted umqombothi the traditional beer of the South Africans.
In truth; South African regard this as part of their cultural heritage, and they invite visitors to participate, or at least to get a taste of what it is all about. Umqombothi is the closest to beer that any African traditional brew can get; it is made from corn, and it is naturally dark as a result of fermentation, although its consistency is a lot thicker than normal beer brands.
Beer brands also sell very well in the country; some of the popular names actually come from Europe; England particularly.
As South Africa goes, so does Namibia. The country is one of the biggest consumers of alcohol on the continent, and beer is the drunk kind of alcohol; it accounts for around 67% of consumption in Namibia, while spirits make up 20%. Namibians are less taken by local brews; it only makes up 6% of consumption, while wine accounts for 7%.
Namibia has a population of 2.5 million; which means tourists and other visitors also contribute their quota to the alcohol consumed in that country.
Ghana is a country in West Africa with a population of around 30 million. However, many things work in favor of Ghana; it is a peaceful country where the people love to enjoy life. It is also very attractive to investors and business-people from all over the world.
Ghana’s nightlife is like no other in West Africa; it can get wild and out of control. Perhaps that is a major advantage which makes the country one of the best grounds for people investing in the making and sale of beer and other related types of alcohol.
Beer is the most popular type of alcohol in Ghana; it constitutes 68%, while spirits and wines make up 20% and 12 %, respectively. Tinctures are very popular in Ghana; it is not known whether they are included in the given figures.
Burundi is the one of the poorest countries in the world; ad yet it ranks among the most alcoholic countries in Africa. Alcohol brands are the bestselling types of alcohol in the country; they constitute about 81% of consumption, while local brews like Urwarwa and Banana wine make up 19%.
Whether this small country with such a poor economy should be consuming this much alcohol remains to be debated on another occasion, but Burundi may be able to boost its GDP with sales from alcohol.
The following is a more expansive list of the 20 most alcoholic countries in Africa.
||Central African Republic
While reading about the most alcoholic countries in Africa; it is important to note that much of the figures given are estimates and that local brews, while they are very much consumed on the continent, are not always reported along with other forms of alcohol sold.