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Rwanda’s Paul Kagame is ‘Twitter President’ of Africa

Rwanda’s Paul Kagame is ‘Twitter President’ of Africa

Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, has emerged the African leader with the largest followership on Twiter, his favourite social media platform for engaging in conversations.

Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria has about 80,000 followers and “not even South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma with @SAPresident (338,900 followers), comes close, despite being leader of Africa’s most advanced economy and a tech savvy population”, according to a statement by KT Press.

He is described as a tweep, and a tech addict while the International Telecommunications Union calls him the “Digital President.”

Social media analysts say Kagame is Africa’s most conversational president. Kagame has the biggest following on Twitter than any other African leader.

By mid-June, his verified handle @PaulKagame, had 456,000 followers. On Wednesday, October 22, Kagame’s account had hit 590,782 followers. On the following day, when he celebrated his 57th Birthday, his account jammed with thousands of best wishes. Kagame tweeted back promptly, “Very much appreciated; [all] those who made my [day] by the [good wishes] sent to me!” Five days later, he attracted 37,900 new followers, hitting 628,684 total followers.

Twiplomacy, a study by Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations and communications firm, said Kagame was trailing Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, in June with more than 50,000 followers. The tide has suddenly changed, with Kagame toppling Kenyatta with 32,000 more followers.

Back home in Rwanda, the “Digital President” has invested over $100 million in broadband internet with over 50% of the population using mobile phones.

In the real world, Kagame is the most conversational leader, who often gets into memorable Twitter exchanges. He usually hits back hard. Make a comment and you certainly will be put on spot to defend.  Twiplomacy’s Burson-Marsteller reviewed 643 official accounts in 161 countries and 77% of African governments on social media. He found out Pope Francis (@Pontifex) is the most influential world leader on Twitter, with his tweets mostly in Spanish, being re-tweeted an average of more than 10,000 times each. US President Barack Obama is the most followed leader globally.

In the east and central African region, Tanzania’s leader Jakaya Kikwete, with @jmkikwete account, has 203,301 followers. Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni @KagutaMuseveni has 65,600 followers.

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are exponentially larger countries than Rwanda, with a massive presence on Twitter, but their leaders are way behind Kagame in the tech world.

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