Updated: African leaders on Facebook (March 2013)
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:
- Ability to utilize social media
- General involvement with citizens
- Media attention
- 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:
Country President (or other title) Facebook Page Type (hyperlinked) March 2013 # of Likes % Change since July 2012
Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika Official Page 25636 3%
Angola Jose Dos Santos Open Group 10547 38%
Benin Thomas Yayi Boni Official Page 7820 5%
Botswana Seretse Khama Ian Khama Unofficial Page 33724 253%
Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré Unofficial Page 18906 71%
Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza Community Page 426 84%
Cameroon Biya Paul Official Page 23461 54%
Cape Verde Pedro Pires Community Page 106 49%
Central African Republic Francois Bozize Yangouvonda Personal Profile? 3474 -2%
Chad Lt Gen. Idriss Deby Public Profile 2 965 38%
Comoros Ahmed Abdallah Sambi Community Page 97 11%
Congo, Republic of Denis Sassou-Nguesso Official Page 8973 12%
Congo, Democratic Republic of Joseph Kabila Unofficial Page 8940 88%
Cote d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara Unofficial Page 10051 26%
Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh Unofficial Page? 5340 8%
Egypt Mohammed Morsi Official Page 1137853 223%
Equatorial Guinea Brig. Gen. (ret) Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Community Page 178 59%
Eritrea Isaias Afeworki Unofficial Page 11730 36%
Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn (PM)) Unofficial Page 6168 n/a
Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba Official Page 79208 334%
The Gambia Yahya Jammeh Unofficial Page 7292 9%
Ghana John Mahama Unofficial Page 18204 n/a
Guinea Sékouba Konaté Unofficial Page 4173 8%
Guinea-Bissau Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo Unofficial Page 185 80%
Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta Official Page 463520 n/a
Lesotho King Letsie III (King) Unofficial Page 6757 20%
Liberia Ellen Sirleaf Johnson Community Page 6123 77%
Libya Ali Zeidan (PM) Community Page 74 n/a
Madagascar Andry Rajoelina Community Page 362 44%
Malawi Joyce Banda Community Page 1885 76%
Mali Dioncounda Traoré Official Page 867 18%
Mauritania Ba Mamadou Mbaré Community Page 3 50%
Mauritius Sir Anerood Jugnauth Unofficial Page 1310 16%
Morocco King Mohamed VI (King) Unofficial Page 88261 0%
Mozambique Armando Emilio Guebuza Official Page? 9333 95%
Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba Community Page 3129 254%
Niger Mahamadou Issoufou Official Page 26734 323%
Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Official Page 917003 26%
Rwanda Paul Kagame Unofficial Page 27504 30%
Sao Tome & Principe Fradique De Menezes Community Page 20 18%
Senegal Macky Sall Official Page 31680 15%
Seychelles James Michel Public Profile 4991 1%
Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma Community Page 9194 213%
Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud Community Page 29 n/a
South Africa Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma Community Page 16334 110%
South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit Community Page 1924 72%
Sudan Omar Hassan al-Bashir Community Page 366 49%
Swaziland King Mswati III (King) Community Page 1550 357%
Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete Official Page 59818 57%
Togo Faure Gnassingbe "Fan Club" 5743 12%
Tunisia Moncef Marzouki Unofficial Page 2550 8%
Uganda Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Unofficial Page 12644 60%
Zambia Michael Sata Unofficial Page 3222 13%
Zimbabwe Robert Gabriel Mugabe Community Page 95940 689%
Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai (PM) Official Page 82196 18%
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.