Updated: African leaders on Facebook (October 2013)
This post is an update of March 2013’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 continues to grow as more Africans get online and as more Diasporans get involved with their communities back home. Presidential elections also drive social media activity. Since March 2013, the 7-month median page growth rate for Facebook “Likes” for African heads of state (presidents, PMs, etc.) stands at 28%. This is down slightly from the previous period of observation but is still very strong. At present, a typical African leader (a gross generalization) has 8,200 Facebook fans – up from less than 5,000 in July 2012. Still, very few leaders have an official Facebook presence – most pages are unofficial or are simply “community pages” generated from Wikipedia content. Not much has changed in this regard in the past year. Still, these pages are misleading – their information is not official and the voice is not that of the actual leader – yet thousands of African Facebook users like them as a sign of interest or support. Many nations are starting to remove these fake pages, even if the head of state has no official page in the works.
Three Africans nations have a new leader since our March 2013 update. Central African Republic has a new president in Michel Djotodia after Francois Bozize fled the country. In Egypt, Mohammed Morsi is no longer in power; instead Adly Mansour is acting President of Egypt. Ibrahim Keita successfully won Mali’s presidency in mid-2013 elections.
Roughly a dozen African leaders currently have an official Facebook page (most are still unofficial or fan-run). Maybe a couple have added one in the past fifteen months. Some governments are starting to control their brand by removing fake pages for leaders. Still, the typical African head of state now has over 8,000 Facebook Likes and is gaining about 150 new ones per month. Unfortunately, new leaders too often lack an online presence (look at Egypt, Libya, or Somalia) despite the opportunity to build trust using social media.
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 28% (the 2nd highest equivalent monthly growth rate in the past three years).
- The median number of Likes for a leader has grown from 7,300 to 8,200, but ranges greatly from a few (Mauritania) to more than a million (Nigeria).
- The only negative growth was seen for Seychelle’s James Michel (and it was slight).
- Less than 5% growth in Algeria, Djibouti, Morocco, Seychelles.
- Absolute numbers of fans continue to be under 1,000 in Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Mauritania, and Somalia. (plus most island nations).
- Unusually rapid growth given volume was noted for Burundi (from 400 to 1,900), Cape Verde (100 to 2,600), Comoros (100 to 450), Equatorial Guinea (200 to 2,200), Namibia (3,000 to 12,700), Sao Tome (20 to 400), Somalia (30 to 200), and Sudan (400 to 1,700). The reasons behind the change in interest is not entirely clear.
- Egypt’s acting president only has a community page with 54 fans; Morsi still has a page with 2.47 million Likes!
- There’s still no sign how Gabon’s Ali Bongo has over 127,000 likes or how Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou has a page with 68,000 (neither page seems official). Both nations have extremely low internet access and relatively small groups living abroad. There’s a chance some of these likes were bought, yet neither page seems officially managed by the government.
- Uhuru Kenyatta gained another 230,000 likes (50% growth) since March following his election.
- Madagascar’s current president Andry Rajoelina gained an additional 3,000 likes for a community page due to an election period (he is not running, however).
- Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan continues to gain roughly 30,000 likes per month.
- South Africa’s Jacob Zuma still does not have an official Facebook presence. Nor do relatively new leaders from Egypt, Libya, or Somalia.
- Mali is a great example of a country with a new leader with a strong Facebook following. He has 63,500 likes – well more than his predecessor Dioncounda Traoré.
- A fake (yet popular) page for Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni was removed. It had 13,000 likes. Similarly, a misleading page for Cote d’Ivoire’s Alassane Ouattara was deleted.
- Zimbabwe’s PM Morgan Tsvangirai now has a slight lead on fan base compared to President Mugabe (124k to 122k).
- In order of sheer fanbase, Egypt now ranks #1 in Africa: Nigeria (1.1mm), Kenya (700k), Zimbabwe (124k), Gabon (128k), Morocco (88k).
The list as of October 27, 2013:
Country President (or other title) Facebook Page Type (hyperlinked) October 2013 # of Likes % Change since March 2013
Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika Official Page 25893 1%
Angola Jose Dos Santos Open Group 12711 21%
Benin Thomas Yayi Boni Official Page 8385 7%
Botswana Seretse Khama Ian Khama Unofficial Page 38565 14%
Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré Unofficial Page 28054 48%
Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza Community Page 1903 347%
Cameroon Biya Paul Official Page 25944 11%
Cape Verde Pedro Pires Community Page 2636 2387%
Central African Republic Michel Djotodia Community Page 123 n/a
Chad Lt Gen. Idriss Deby Public Profile 2 1231 28%
Comoros Ahmed Abdallah Sambi Community Page 441 355%
Congo, Republic of Denis Sassou-Nguesso Official Page 9783 9%
Congo, Democratic Republic of Joseph Kabila Unofficial Page 13730 54%
Cote d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara Official Page? 6822 -32%
Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh Unofficial Page? 5538 4%
Egypt Adly Mansour Community Page 54 n/a
Equatorial Guinea Brig. Gen. (ret) Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Community Page 2232 1154%
Eritrea Isaias Afeworki Unofficial Page 12516 7%
Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn (PM)) Unofficial Page 8951 45%
Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba Official Page 127522 61%
The Gambia Yahya Jammeh Unofficial Page 7960 9%
Ghana John Mahama Unofficial Page 20329 12%
Guinea Sékouba Konaté Unofficial Page 4436 6%
Guinea-Bissau Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo Unofficial Page 264 43%
Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta Official Page 696105 50%
Lesotho King Letsie III (King) Unofficial Page 9735 44%
Liberia Ellen Sirleaf Johnson Community Page 7809 28%
Libya Ali Zeidan (PM) Community Page 143 93%
Madagascar Andry Rajoelina Community Page 3447 852%
Malawi Joyce Banda Community Page | Official Page 3652 / 454048 94%
Mali Ibrahim Keita Official Page 63499 n/a
Mauritania Ba Mamadou Mbaré Community Page 34 1033%
Mauritius Sir Anerood Jugnauth Unofficial Page 1514 16%
Morocco King Mohamed VI (King) Unofficial Page 88526 0%
Mozambique Armando Emilio Guebuza Official Page? 11681 25%
Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba Community Page 12783 309%
Niger Mahamadou Issoufou Official Page 67903 154%
Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Official Page 1117946 22%
Rwanda Paul Kagame Unofficial Page 30509 11%
Sao Tome & Principe Fradique De Menezes Community Page 383 1815%
Senegal Macky Sall Official Page 43330 37%
Seychelles James Michel Public Profile 4909 -2%
Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma Community Page 10750 17%
Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud Community Page 201 593%
South Africa Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma Community Page 34619 112%
South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit Community Page 3257 69%
Sudan Omar Hassan al-Bashir Community Page 1731 373%
Swaziland King Mswati III (King) Community Page 3248 110%
Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete Official Page 71432 19%
Togo Faure Gnassingbe "Fan Club" 6792 18%
Tunisia Moncef Marzouki Unofficial Page 2710 6%
Uganda Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Community Page 7653 -39%
Zambia Michael Sata Unofficial Page 3584 11%
Zimbabwe Robert Gabriel Mugabe Community Page 121718 27%
Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai (PM) Official Page 124095 51%
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.