Uganda tops Africa in alcohol consumption

A CNN study ranks the country 8th in the world and first on the continent in liquor intake, with home-made waragi and Ajono, toping the alcohol menu.

Saturday March 16 2013



Ugandans consume more alcohol than counterparts in any African country, demonstrating the citizens’ abiding love for liquor, according to a survey done by US broadcaster Cable News Network (CNN).

Titled ‘World’s 10 best-drinking nations’, Uganda is ranked 8th globally ahead of Germany and Australia at positions 9 and 10, respectively. The worst drinkers in the world, according to the ranking, are British nationals who use bars to crack deals, initiate and end relationships, settle scores and overcome their “traditional reserve”.

In Uganda’s case, the study says patrons generously drink “waragi, also known as war gin because it was once used to fortify troops. Though drinking too much inevitably leads to surrender.”

“Uganda leads its African neighbours for alcohol intake, largely thanks to a rampant trade in illegally made rotgut and a winning formula of booze made from bananas,” the broadcaster noted in its study published online yesterday. The ranking offered no benchmarks or figures, making it impossible to determine how scientific or not the research was.

That notwithstanding, the report captures fairly correctly that many Ugandans, especially in the central region, offset hangover by enjoying Luwombo; a meal with saucy meat or chicken cooked in banana leaves.

Ajono, a semi-fermented beer drunk from communal pots using long straws, which is most popular among the Itesot, is another of the country’s favourite alcoholic drinks, CNN noted.

Intake of colossal amounts of potent gins and other forms of crude liquor in mostly poverty-stricken rural communities and urban slums has raised health alarm amid declining productivity by affected youth.

Uganda’s endowed mostly take beer as well in generous quantities that police recently stepped up surveillance to catch intoxicated motorists and pedestrians, arguing both present risk to themselves and other road users. Other countries in descending ranking on CNN’s ‘World’s 10 best-drinking nations’ list include China, Russia, France, Ecuador, Moldova and South Korea.