Well-being in Africa

  • Annie AustinEmail author
Part of the Wellbeing in Politics and Policy book series (WPP)


This chapter presents evidence relating to political conceptions of well-being in Africa. First, the southern African philosophy of Ubuntu is discussed, and areas of overlap with other ethical frameworks are explored. Next, the national constitutions of countries in North, East, West and Southern Africa are examined, with the aim of identifying the central principles of the political settings of well-being in these countries. Findings from the World Values Survey give a broad view of mass priorities across the region. The analysis shows numerous commonalities, including Material living standards, Health, Education, Work, Community and Family, Political and Cultural Participation, and access to a healthy Natural Environment as constituents of a good life. Also apparent across the national constitutions is the aim of maintaining and developing each country’s national identity, including through the blending of traditional and modern customs and values. This can be interpreted as a recognition of the importance of shared histories, traditions and cultures, in political and ethical reasoning at the national, community and individual levels. Belonging is a crucial aspect of the good life. To summarise, the dominant commonality to emerge at each of the philosophical, political and civilian levels is the value of harmonious social relationships.


Well-being Africa Ubuntu Values 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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