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Updated: African leaders on Facebook (October 2013)

October 27, 2013  »  StatisticsNo Comment

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:

  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 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:

CountryPresident (or other title)Facebook Page Type (hyperlinked)October 2013 # of Likes% Change since March 2013
AlgeriaAbdelaziz BouteflikaOfficial Page258931%
AngolaJose Dos SantosOpen Group1271121%
BeninThomas Yayi BoniOfficial Page83857%
BotswanaSeretse Khama Ian KhamaUnofficial Page3856514%
Burkina FasoBlaise CompaoréUnofficial Page2805448%
BurundiPierre NkurunzizaCommunity Page1903347%
CameroonBiya PaulOfficial Page2594411%
Cape VerdePedro PiresCommunity Page26362387%
Central African RepublicMichel DjotodiaCommunity Page123n/a
ChadLt Gen. Idriss DebyPublic Profile 2123128%
ComorosAhmed Abdallah SambiCommunity Page441355%
Congo, Republic ofDenis Sassou-NguessoOfficial Page97839%
Congo, Democratic Republic ofJoseph KabilaUnofficial Page1373054%
Cote d'IvoireAlassane OuattaraOfficial Page?6822-32%
DjiboutiIsmail Omar GuellehUnofficial Page?55384%
EgyptAdly MansourCommunity Page54n/a
Equatorial GuineaBrig. Gen. (ret) Teodoro Obiang Nguema MbasogoCommunity Page22321154%
EritreaIsaias AfeworkiUnofficial Page125167%
EthiopiaHailemariam Desalegn (PM))Unofficial Page895145%
GabonAli Bongo OndimbaOfficial Page12752261%
The GambiaYahya JammehUnofficial Page79609%
GhanaJohn MahamaUnofficial Page2032912%
GuineaSékouba KonatéUnofficial Page44366%
Guinea-BissauManuel Serifo NhamadjoUnofficial Page26443%
KenyaUhuru KenyattaOfficial Page69610550%
LesothoKing Letsie III (King)Unofficial Page973544%
LiberiaEllen Sirleaf JohnsonCommunity Page780928%
LibyaAli Zeidan (PM)Community Page14393%
MadagascarAndry RajoelinaCommunity Page3447852%
MalawiJoyce BandaCommunity Page | Official Page3652 / 45404894%
MaliIbrahim KeitaOfficial Page63499n/a
MauritaniaBa Mamadou MbaréCommunity Page341033%
MauritiusSir Anerood JugnauthUnofficial Page151416%
MoroccoKing Mohamed VI (King)Unofficial Page885260%
MozambiqueArmando Emilio GuebuzaOfficial Page?1168125%
NamibiaHifikepunye PohambaCommunity Page12783309%
NigerMahamadou IssoufouOfficial Page67903154%
NigeriaDr. Goodluck JonathanOfficial Page111794622%
RwandaPaul KagameUnofficial Page3050911%
Sao Tome & PrincipeFradique De MenezesCommunity Page3831815%
SenegalMacky SallOfficial Page4333037%
SeychellesJames MichelPublic Profile4909-2%
Sierra LeoneErnest Bai KoromaCommunity Page1075017%
SomaliaHassan Sheikh MohamoudCommunity Page201593%
South AfricaJacob Gedleyihlekisa ZumaCommunity Page34619112%
South SudanSalva Kiir MayarditCommunity Page325769%
SudanOmar Hassan al-BashirCommunity Page1731373%
SwazilandKing Mswati III (King)Community Page3248110%
TanzaniaJakaya KikweteOfficial Page7143219%
TogoFaure Gnassingbe"Fan Club"679218%
TunisiaMoncef MarzoukiUnofficial Page27106%
UgandaLt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta MuseveniCommunity Page7653-39%
ZambiaMichael SataUnofficial Page358411%
ZimbabweRobert Gabriel MugabeCommunity Page12171827%
ZimbabweMorgan Tsvangirai (PM)Official Page12409551%

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, July 2012, and March 2013 are also available.

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