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Updated: African leaders on Facebook (March 2013)

March 23, 2013  »  StatisticsNo Comment

This post is an update of July 2012’s list of African leaders with a Facebook presence. All percentage changes represent growth over an 8-month period.

Interest in Facebook pages of African heads of state is at an all-time high. Fan growth rates have once again increased over the past few months after slowing a year ago. Impressively, median the growth rate for Facebook “likes” has increased to 48% (the highest monthly growth rate in the past two years). Now, a typical African leader (a gross generalization) has over 7,000 Facebook fans – up from less than 5,000 in July 2012.

Moreover, quite a few nations have a new leader since July 2012. Ethiopia has a new Prime Minister (Hailemariam Desalegn) following the death of Meles Zenawi. John Mahama is President of Ghana following the death of John Atta-Mills. Ali Zeidan is now the Prime Minister of Libya. Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud was elected president of Somalia. And, Uhuru Kenyatta is President-elect of Kenya.

Roughly a dozen African leaders currently have an official Facebook page (most are still unofficial or fan-run). None appear to have added one in the past eight months. Still, the typical African head of state now has over 7,000 Facebook likes and is gaining about 300 new ones per month. The numbers vary widely, but are a barometer of national growth and level of democracy.

For a leader, a widely-followed page could represent:

  1. Ability to utilize social media
  2. General involvement with citizens
  3. Efficacy
  4. Media attention
  5. Campaigning ability

The number of Facebook likes also tends to mirror the availability of Internet access within a country. Of course, many “likes” come from citizens living abroad, or simply those with international interests.

Growth trends & countries of interest:

  • Median “like” growth rate has increased to 48% (the highest monthly growth rate in the past two years).
  • The median number of likes for a leader has grown from 4,900 to 7,300, but ranges greatly from a few (Mauritania) to more than a million (Egypt).
  • Only Central African Republic’s Francois Bozize’s page lost fans (likely due to the conflict [declining support] within country).
  • Like count growth of leader pages with greater than 20,000 likes has increased since slowing a year ago. Rates are now solid double-digit again.
  • Less than 5% growth in Algeria, Central African Republic, Morocco, Seychelles.
  • Absolute numbers of fans continue to be low in Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, and Sudan (plus most island nations).
  • Unusually rapid growth given volume was noted for Botswana 253%, Egypt 223%, Gabon 334%, Namibia 254%, Niger 323%, Sierra Leone 213%, Swaziland 357%, Zimbabwe 689%. We are unsure why a few of these leaders (ie. Botswana, Gabon, and Niger) earned so much interest from the national and international community.
  • The late Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi’s page has gained over 30,000 likes since July. The page for the new PM has gained 6,200.
  • Kenya President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta has a staggering 464,000 likes after a massive campaign and widely-followed election. By comparison, current President Kibaki has only 165,000.
  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe now has more likes than PM Morgan Tsvangirai.
  • The page for Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi somehow managed to gain over 600,000 fans in only 8 months!
  • Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou has an impressive page and fan base (27,000) given the lack of Internet access in his country.
  • In order of sheer fanbase, Egypt now ranks #1 in Africa: Egypt (1.1mm), Nigeria (917k), Kenya (464k), Zimbabwe (95k), Morocco (88k), Gabon (79k)

The list as of March 23, 2013:

CountryPresident (or other title)Facebook Page Type (hyperlinked)March 2013 # of Likes% Change since July 2012
AlgeriaAbdelaziz BouteflikaOfficial Page256363%
AngolaJose Dos SantosOpen Group1054738%
BeninThomas Yayi BoniOfficial Page78205%
BotswanaSeretse Khama Ian KhamaUnofficial Page33724253%
Burkina FasoBlaise CompaoréUnofficial Page1890671%
BurundiPierre NkurunzizaCommunity Page42684%
CameroonBiya PaulOfficial Page2346154%
Cape VerdePedro PiresCommunity Page10649%
Central African RepublicFrancois Bozize YangouvondaPersonal Profile?3474-2%
ChadLt Gen. Idriss DebyPublic Profile 296538%
ComorosAhmed Abdallah SambiCommunity Page9711%
Congo, Republic ofDenis Sassou-NguessoOfficial Page897312%
Congo, Democratic Republic ofJoseph KabilaUnofficial Page894088%
Cote d'IvoireAlassane OuattaraUnofficial Page1005126%
DjiboutiIsmail Omar GuellehUnofficial Page?53408%
EgyptMohammed MorsiOfficial Page1137853223%
Equatorial GuineaBrig. Gen. (ret) Teodoro Obiang Nguema MbasogoCommunity Page17859%
EritreaIsaias AfeworkiUnofficial Page1173036%
EthiopiaHailemariam Desalegn (PM))Unofficial Page6168n/a
GabonAli Bongo OndimbaOfficial Page79208334%
The GambiaYahya JammehUnofficial Page72929%
GhanaJohn MahamaUnofficial Page18204n/a
GuineaSékouba KonatéUnofficial Page41738%
Guinea-BissauManuel Serifo NhamadjoUnofficial Page18580%
KenyaUhuru KenyattaOfficial Page463520n/a
LesothoKing Letsie III (King)Unofficial Page675720%
LiberiaEllen Sirleaf JohnsonCommunity Page612377%
LibyaAli Zeidan (PM)Community Page74n/a
MadagascarAndry RajoelinaCommunity Page36244%
MalawiJoyce BandaCommunity Page188576%
MaliDioncounda TraoréOfficial Page86718%
MauritaniaBa Mamadou MbaréCommunity Page350%
MauritiusSir Anerood JugnauthUnofficial Page131016%
MoroccoKing Mohamed VI (King)Unofficial Page882610%
MozambiqueArmando Emilio GuebuzaOfficial Page?933395%
NamibiaHifikepunye PohambaCommunity Page3129254%
NigerMahamadou IssoufouOfficial Page26734323%
NigeriaDr. Goodluck JonathanOfficial Page91700326%
RwandaPaul KagameUnofficial Page2750430%
Sao Tome & PrincipeFradique De MenezesCommunity Page2018%
SenegalMacky SallOfficial Page3168015%
SeychellesJames MichelPublic Profile49911%
Sierra LeoneErnest Bai KoromaCommunity Page9194213%
SomaliaHassan Sheikh MohamoudCommunity Page29n/a
South AfricaJacob Gedleyihlekisa ZumaCommunity Page16334110%
South SudanSalva Kiir MayarditCommunity Page192472%
SudanOmar Hassan al-BashirCommunity Page36649%
SwazilandKing Mswati III (King)Community Page1550357%
TanzaniaJakaya KikweteOfficial Page5981857%
TogoFaure Gnassingbe"Fan Club"574312%
TunisiaMoncef MarzoukiUnofficial Page25508%
UgandaLt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta MuseveniUnofficial Page1264460%
ZambiaMichael SataUnofficial Page322213%
ZimbabweRobert Gabriel MugabeCommunity Page95940689%
ZimbabweMorgan Tsvangirai (PM)Official Page8219618%

Note: The above table lists all top African heads of state (usually President or PM) and provides a link to the most popular Facebook page, group, or profile for a given leader. The final column shows how many users “Like” (are interested in) the particular leader. In many cases a best guess has been used to determine the owner of a page.

Stats from July 2010, December 2010, March 2011, June 2011, October 2011, February 2012, and July 2012 are also available.

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