Uhuru Kenyatta is Africa’s Most Followed President on Twitter

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Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) is Africa’s most-followed president, with 456,209 followers, ahead of Rwanda’s @PaulKagame and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma (@SAPresident).

Ugandan Prime Minister @AmamaMbabazi is the most conversational world leader on Twitter. Ninety-five percent of his tweets are @replies to other Twitter users.

This is according to the latest findings by  a Twiplomacy report, an annual global study of world leaders on Twitter by Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm.

Since his election in late May 2014, India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@NarendraModi) has become the fifth-most followed world leader on Twitter, with 4,967,847 followers. He is expected to surpass the United States White House account, @WhiteHouse (4,976,734) and is using Twitter as a power tool to broadcast his messages, according to Twiplomacy.

The study also revealed that more than 83 percent of all United Nations (UN) governments have a presence on Twitter, and two-thirds (68 percent) of all heads of state and government have personal Twitter accounts.

“We are proud that, now in its third year, the Burson-Marsteller Twiplomacy study has become a must-read on social media’s growing importance among world leaders,” said Donald A. Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller. “This year we have seen a 28 percent rise in Twitter accounts among government users, a dramatic increase in efforts to reach people around the world.”

As of 24 June 2014, the five most followed world leaders were U.S. President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) (43 million followers of the U.S. president’s campaign account), Pope Francis (@Pontifex) with 14 million followers on his nine different language accounts, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono) (5 million followers), the @WhiteHouse and @NarendraModi. However, the most followed world leaders follow few other peers, and they are hardly conversational. @BarackObama and the @WhiteHouse only follow three other world leaders, namely Norway’s Erna Solberg, Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev and the UK government.

“This study illustrates that while the number of followers is important, the number of mutual connections is even more important,” said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa and Global Chief Strategy Officer. “It is interesting to see how foreign ministries have created large digital networks on Twitter where not every tweet is approved by lawyers and press officers. Corporations and CEOs can learn a lot from politicians on Twitter, in terms of embracing digital tools for communications and how to connect with peers and influencers.”

Pope Francis (@Pontifex) is the most influential world leader on Twitter. His Spanish tweets are retweeted on average more than 10,000 times each. The tweets of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro are retweeted 2,000 times. In comparison, @BarackObama’s tweets are only retweeted an average 1,400 times each, despite his massive following.

Other key findings include:

–      All but one of the G20 governments have an official Twitter presence, and six of the G7 leaders have a personal Twitter account. However, few world leaders are tweeting themselves. Notable exceptions include Estonian President Toomas Henrik Ilves (@IlvesToomas), Swedish Foreign Minister @CarlBildt and Finnish Prime Minister designate Alext Stubb (@AlexStubb).

–      Barack Obama was the first world leader to sign up to Twitter on 5 March 2007 (at the time as Senator Obama) as user #813,286. Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN), Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (@ElioDiRupo), Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (@PMHarper) and the U.S. State Department @StateDept are among the early adopters, all having joined later in 2007.

–      Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) is the most followed Latin American leader with 2,887,955 followers, ahead of Colombia’s President @JuanManSantos with 2,883,963 followers. Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN), Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff (@dilmabr) and Venezuela’s @NicolasMaduro all have more than two million followers each. The five Latin American presidents are among the top 20 most followed world leaders. They mutually follow each other and often interact with each other publically on Twitter.

–      All 643 accounts combined have an audience of 156,965,474 followers. The median average number of followers is 9,793.

–      Quite a few politicians use Twitter only during election campaigns. Chile’s new President Michelle Bachelet abandoned her Twitter account @PrensaMichelle once elected on 11 March 2014. The personal Twitter account of French Prime Minister @ManuelValls has been dormant since the elections on 9 May 2012.

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