Young mobile users responsible for most Twitter growth in Africa [Infographic]

New research suggests that Twitter’s growth in Africa is being driven primarily young people using mobile devices and that South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt are the continent’s leading tweeters.

The research is a collaboration between Portland Communications, a strategic communications consultancy and specialist media platform Tweetminster.

The two claim to have “analysed over 11.5-million geo-located Tweets originating on the continent during the last three months of 2011”. The analysis, they say, was “complemented by a survey of 500 of Africa’s most active Tweeters”.

Some of the study’s key findings include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • African Twitter users are active across a range of social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn.

The survey also 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.

Mark Flanagan, Portland’s Partner for Digital Communications, says: “One of the more surprising findings of this research is that more public figures have not joined Africa’s burgeoning Twittersphere. 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.”

Beatrice Karanja, Associate Director and head of Portland Nairobi, says: “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. 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.”

Portland and Tweetminster have collated a number of the study’s key findings into an infographic:

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