Biggest Alcohol-Drinking Nations in Africa



Whether your preference is beer, wine, or spirits, many of us are no stranger to kicking back with a drink or two.  But when you add all of the bar-goers together, it comes back with some seriously astounding numbers on the amount of alcohol consumed each year. Based on the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, the following African countries reported the highest annual alcohol consumption on the continent, measured by the amount of pure ethyl alcohol consumed per capita per year in people age 15 or more – since, you know, kids aren’t supposed to be hitting the bottle quite yet.

1. NIGERIA – 12.28liters/year: No 1 in Africa for alcohol consumption is Nigeria. Beer makes up 6% of alcohol consumption; while ‘others’ make up 94% due to high popularity of home-brewed beverages. Known as homebrew is ogogoro which is an xtremely alcoholic drink. It has 30% – 60% ethyl alcohol content depending on how it is made. It is produced from the juice of raffia palm trees.

2. UGANDA – 11.93 liters/year: Ahead of the pack by a long shot is Uganda with 11.93 liters of alcohol consumed each year. Just 45% of consumption comes from beer and 2% from wine, with the ‘other’ category a resounding winner at 94% of consumption. The generic term for domestically distilled beverages in Uganda is waragi. But this can cover a wide variety of drinks like: pombe and lubisi or locally made banana or millet beer. Tonto which is a traditionally fermented drink is made from bananas, banana wine and many more

3. RWANDA – 9.80 liters/year: Just 8% of alcohol consumption comes from beer in Rwanda, despite the popular Turbo King, Primus and Amstel brands being widely available. The other 92% is largely from homemade drinks such as the banana beer, urgwagwa and the fermented honey drink called Ubuki. The Ikigage drink is made from dry sorghum and is also very common in Rwanda.

4. SIERRA LEONE – 9.72 liters/year: While just 7% of Sierra Leone’s alcohol consumption comes from beer, the national brewer Sierra Leone Breweries LTD. is responsible for producing popular Star beer that is commonly consumed. Poyo which is a local brewed palm wine is the nation’s favorite adult beverage and can be drunk directly from the tree or fermented a bit longer for a stronger fix.

5. NAMIBIA – 9.62 liters/year: Like its South African neighbor, Namibia has a wide break-down of favorite drinks, but beer carries the most weight with 67% of alcohol consumption. Spirits make up 20%, wines make up 7% and ‘other’ chips in at 6%. The country’s flagship beer is the Windhoek Lager and it is popular across the country and surrounding region. It is similar to many lighter German beers (not surprising, given the colonial history)

6. BURUNDI – 9.47 liters/year: Narrowly beating South Africa, drinkers in Burundi overwhelmingly prefer ‘other’ drinks which make up 81% of consumption. Beer, by consumption makes up 19% of alcohol consumption and wine and spirits barely make a show. The famous drink in the Burundi is urwarwa or banana wine; which is produced in the traditional method and consumed most often during festivals and special occasions.

7. SOUTH AFRICA – 9.46 liters/year: In such a big country, it’s no surprise that there’s a wider break-up of preferred beverage choice. 56% of consumption comes from beer, while 17%, 16% and 11% come from wine, spirits and “others” respectively. The most popular beer brands are Castle and Black Label; but the country’s extensive wine vineyards particularly in Stellenbosch and the Westen Cape produces dome of the world’s most popular wines as well.

8. GABON – 9.32 liters/year: The favored alcoholic drink of Gabonians is clear. While 10% and 22% of alcoholic consumption in Gabon comes from wine and spirits respectively, 68% comes from beer. The cheapest and most popular beer in Gabon is Regab; costing from $0.70 – $2. The lack of tax on any alcoholic beverage makes it easy to import from abroad.

9. BOTSWANA – 7.96 liters/year: Botswana also have a lot of alcohol consumption rate (42%) coming from “other” category. But it is beer consumption which is higher making up 58% of the total amount. This may be due to the high consumption of Botswana’s national beer, St Louis, though many (locals and visitors alike) say that St. Louis is worse than the cheapest light beers found everywhere in the world. Many opt for beer imports from nearby South Africa or Namibia instead.

10. CAMEROON – 7.57liters/year: As a former German and French colony, Cameroonians tend to drink foreign beer than local; and 44% of the total alcohol consumption comes from beer. With wine and spirits making up 1% or less of the consumption. Most Cameroonians turn to the “other” category; that is drinks made of one of several “other” alcoholic beverages such as fermented sorghum, corn, millet, rice, cider, fruit wine, fortified wine etc.

NB: This list was published in November 2013 by

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  1. Jozee Erique says

    HABA! PEOPLE WAKE UP: Do we need statistics from researches before we accept some facts for crying out loud we are estimated to be over 170 million people is it not obvious that (1).WE ARE THE MOST RELIGIOUS IGNORANT PEOPLE IN AFRICA: that is why we believe everything the preacher says and not what the HOLY BOOK says (2).WE HAVE MORE ILLITERATES THAN ANYOTHER AFRICAN COUNTRY (3).WE HAVE MORE SEX THAN ANY COUNTRY IN AFRICA, TO THE EXTENT WE EXPORT SEX ABROAD thus we have more sexually transmitted diseases. DO NOT BE SHOCKED WHEN THEY SAY WE DRINK MORE BEER IN AFRICA, WHICH COUNTRY DO YOU THINK SHOULD BEAT US TO IT?. (4). WE HAVE MORE CORRUPT and DECEITFUL POLITICIANS and that the fact.

  2. Iniobong Jimmy says

    Abeg Cameroon na no. 1, check am well.

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