The Big Alcohol Drinkers of Africa and Why the Leadership Future looks grey or betrayed for Zambia and the Continent

By Chris Zumani Zimba

Feb. 26, 2019

Cider_492x249.jpgOne notorious fact is that alcohol consumption in Africa is very high among the 54 nations. And here are the 10 biggest alcohol-drinking countries per person aged 15 and above per annum by virtue of country population according to, in September, 2017, and NOT according to The Euromonitor Report of 2018 which ranked Zambia as a country with the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in the region: The list is as follows:

  1. Nigeria — 12,28 liters per year (182 202 000 millions).
  2. Uganda — 11,93 liters per year (population is 38 millions).
  3. Kenya — 9,72 liters per year (population is around 50 millions)
  4. Rwanda — 9,10 litres per year (population is 12 millions)
  5. Namibia — 9,62 litres per year (population is around 2 millions)
  6. Burundi — 9,47 liters per year (population is 12 millions)
  7. South Africa — 9,46 liters per year (population is 56 millions)
  8. Gabon — 9,32 liters per year (population is estimated at 1.5 millions people)
  9. Botswana — 7,96 liters per year (population is just over 2 millions)
  10. Tanzania — 7,7 liters per year (population is 52 millions)

In the same vein, according to Foundation for A Drug Free World, the side effects of alcohol consumption are divided into two categories namely, short and long term as explained below:

Short-term effects of alcohol

Depending on how much is taken and the physical condition of the individual, alcohol can cause:

  1. Slurred speech; 2. Drowsiness; 3. Vomiting; 4. Diarrhea; 5. Upset stomach; 6. Headaches; 7. Breathing difficulties; 8. Distorted vision and hearing; 9. Impaired judgment; 10. Decreased perception and coordination; 11. Unconsciousness; 12. Anemia (loss of red blood cells); 12. Coma; and 13.Blackouts (memory lapses, where the drinker cannot remember events that occurred while under the influence).

Long-term effects of alcohol

Binge drinking and continued alcohol use in large amounts are associated with many long term health problems, including:

  1. Unintentional injuries such as car crash, falls, burns, drowning; 2. Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence; 3. Increased on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity; 4. Increased family problems, broken relationships; 5. Alcohol poisoning; 6. High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases; 7. Liver disease; 8. Nerve damage; 9. Sexual problems; 10. Permanent damage to the brain; 11. Vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation; 12. Ulcers; 13. Gastritis (inflammation of stomach walls); 14. Malnutrition; and 15.Cancer of the mouth and throat.

Given the above facts regarding the big alcohol drinkers of Africa and how Zambia is featuring on The Euromonitor Report of 2018 alcohol ranking, it is very clear that the political leadership future of Africa is very grey and Zambia stand self-betrayed if nothing tangible and serious is done in terms of behavioral and structural interventions to reverse and mitigate the consumption as well as abuse of alcohol in the region especially among young people who are the major direct and indirect victims. What we need to know and emphasize among African young people is that “health is a resource for everyday life, health is wealth”.

Chris Zumani Zimba is a prolific Political Scientist, Analyst, Author, Blogger, PhD Scholar, Researcher and Consultant. Besides being the CEO and Managing Consultant at Chrizzima Democracy University (CDU) in Zambia, he analyses African politics weekly on Voice of the Cape Radio, South Africa every Wednesday at 16:20hours CAT. So far, he has authored more than 10 political and academic books as well as published over 100 well researched articles. Sometimes, he lectures Political Science-Part Time with University of Zambia (UNZA) and University of Lusaka (UNILUS) outside his usual commitments. or; +260 973 153 815


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