(WNN) Nairobi, KENYA: Young people tweeting from mobile devices across the region are the current driving forces that are creating a rise in the growth of Twitter in Africa, says How Africa Tweets, which has just launched its findings from Nairobi, Kenya.
In the first ever attempt to comprehensively map the use of Twitter in Africa, Portland Communications and Tweetminster analysed over 11.5 million geo-located Tweets originating on the continent during the last three months of 2011. This pan-African analysis of Twitter traffic was complemented by a survey of 500 of Africa’s most active Tweeters.
“Africa is very much open to new technologies,” said Beatrice Karanja, head of Portland’s Nairobi office, to WNN – Women News Network in a recent interview. “What this research has helped to highlight – for the first time in the case of Twitter – is the scale and pace with which new technology and ideas are embraced on the continent. In the case of Africa, we find so many examples of how technology is being used to accelerate development and improve lives. Take, for example, mobile banking, which has grown phenomenally in Africa after being launched here in Kenya just a few years ago. According to a recent report in The Economist, 9.5m Kenyans – or 23% of the population – use mobile banking, transferring the equivalent of 11% of Kenya’s GDP each year,” added Karanja.
Report findings for How Africa Tweets has discovered:
- Twitter in Africa is widely used for social conversation, with 81% of those polled saying that they mainly used it for communicating with friends.
- Twitter is becoming an important source of information in Africa. 68% of those polled said that they use Twitter to monitor news. 22% use it to search for employment opportunities.
- South Africa is the continent’s most active country by volume of geo-located Tweets, with over twice as many Tweets (5,030,226 during Q4 2011) as the next most active Kenya (2,476,800). Nigeria (1,646,212), Egypt (1,214,062) and Morocco (745,620) make up the remainder of the top five most active countries.
- 57% of Tweets from Africa are sent from mobile devices.
- 60% of Africa’s most active Tweeters are aged 20-29.
- African Twitter users are active across a range of social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn.
How Africa Tweets found that Twitter is helping to form new links within Africa. The majority of those surveyed said that at least half of the Twitter accounts they follow are based on the continent.
“One of the more surprising findings of this research is that more public figures have not joined Africa’s burgeoning Twittersphere,” says Mark Flanagan who works as one of the partners for Portland’s Digital Communications. “With some notable exceptions, we found that business and political leaders were largely absent from the debates playing out on Twitter across the continent. As Twitter lifts off in Africa, governments, businesses and development agencies can really no longer afford to stay out of a new space where dialogue will increasingly be taking place.”
“We saw the pivotal role of Twitter in the events in North Africa last year, but it is clear that Africa’s Twitter revolution is really just beginning,” emphasized Karanja. “Twitter is helping Africa and Africans to connect in new ways and swap information and views. And for Africa – as for the rest of the world – that can only be good.”
For more information see the new report, “How Africa Tweets,” by Portand Communications
©2012 WNN – Women News Network
No part of this article release may be reproduced without prior permissions from WNN.