10 African business leaders to follow on Twitter

Nigerian Businessman Tony O. Elumelu. (Image Credit: Tony Elumelu foundation)
Nigerian Businessman Tony O. Elumelu. (Image Credit: Tony Elumelu foundation)
Nigerian Businessman Tony O. Elumelu. (Image Credit: Tony Elumelu foundation)

Local and international media have focused this week on what has been described as ‘mounting losses’ for the online messaging service Twitter ahead of its debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). According to a regulatory filing this week Twitter lost in the region of $65 million during the quarter ending September. News surrounding the Twitter IPO has re-emphasized its significance as a communication platform.

IBNLive reported that by end September Twitter had 232 million active users. Closer to Africa and, according to the SA Social Media Landscape 2014 research study released by World Wide Worx and Fuseware, Twitter has 5,5 million users in South Africa – up from a previous figure of 2,4 million and representing 129% growth in 12 months.

With current global attention on another Tech IPO, ITNewsAfrica takes a closer look at the profiles of some of Africa’s most prominent business leaders and their levels of activity on Twitter.


1. Michael Jordaan (South Africa)  @MichaelJordaan 8, 644 tweets, 35, 044 followers

Michael Jordaan, the outgoing CEO of South African bank FNB has been appointed Chairman of the Board of mobile messaging company, Mxit. Jordaan had been instrumental to implementing innovative changes at FNB. According to the company, Jordaan will not be receiving a monthly remuneration just yet, but will be issued shares in the company instead. His tweets are both personal and professional, and judging by the frequency, he is very active on Twitter.

2.Bob Collymore (Kenya) @bobcollymore 4, 970 tweets, 174, 027 followers

Bob Collymore has served as CEO of Safaricom since 2010. The company was established in 1997 as a fully owned subsidiary of Telkom Kenya (until 2000) and is now the largest mobile service provider in Kenya. Safaricom has a staff complement of over 1500 employees, and at the end of 2012, posted revenues of $1.2-billion. He actively re-tweets and features both personal and professional posts.

3. Naguib Sawiris (Egypt) @NaguibSawiris   3,494 tweets,  1,064,229 followers

Born June 15, 1954, Egyptian businessman and politician Naguib Sawiris’ reported net worth is said to be in the region of $2.5 billion. He was executive chairman of the telecommunications companies Wind Telecom and Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) before turning to politics in May 2011. Orascom Telecom Holdings has 20,000 employees and manages 11 GSM operators around the world. Based on his Twitter profile, Sawiris is proactive with responses to tweets and actively uses the forum.

4. Tony O. Elumelu (Nigeria) @TonyOElumelu 1614 tweets, 41,338 followers

Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman of Heirs Holdings Limited, Nigerian economist, investor and philanthropist Tony Elumelu is acknowledged to be one of the continent’s most influential entrepreneurs. On his official website Elumelu speaks of ‘Africapitalism’ or the commitment of the private sector towards economic transformation in Africa. He regularly tweets and uses the forum to discuss pertinent economic and business issues.

5.Reginald Mengi (Tanzania) @regmengi 787 tweets,  26, 629 followers

Reginald Mengi is an industrialist and media entrepreneur. He is the owner and Executive Chairman of Tanzania-based IPP Limited, a privately-owned company focused on media, communications and print. The Group, including all affiliated businesses, is said to be amongst the largest privately owned business in Tanzania. He regularly tweets and retweets.

6. Elon Musk (South Africa) @elonmusk  779 tweets,  415, 597 followers

South African born founder of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Elon Musk has proven what can be achieved when innovation and creativity are expertly blended. The company’s SpaceX Dragon recently successfully completed its first commercial cargo mission to the International Space Station. A look at his profile shows that Musk is proactive with Twitter and focuses on using the forum to inform and update markets about his work.

 7. Dr. Hamadoun Toure’ (Mali) @ITUSecGen 597 tweets , 3,552 followers

The Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was re-elected for a second four-year term in October 2010. He is widely acknowledged for placing emphasis on ICT as a driver of social and economic development and has previously served as Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) from 1998 – 2006. Although not his personal Twitter page, but that of his office, the profile has many followers and, as one would expect, focuses on a range of issues that affect telecommunications in Africa.

8. Donald Kaberuka (Rwanda) @DonaldKaberuka 361 tweets,  5,365 followers

The name Donald Kaberuka is immediately recognised within economic and financial circles. Kaberuka is an economist from Rwanda and the current president of the African Development Bank. According to his biography on the African Development Bank Group, Kaberuka was re-elected in 2010 to serve a second five-year term. His career has been established in banking, international trade & development, as well as government service.

9. Jason Njoku (Nigeria) @JasonNjoku 324 tweets,  1,300 followers

Jason Njoku may not be as wealthy as the other business leaders on this list, but he is widely acknowledged for bringing Nigerian entertainment to the world, via the Net. Through iROKO Partners, Njoku has helped to raise the profile of ‘Nollywood’ and Afrobeats within the international film and performing arts industry. iROKO Partners was launched in December 2010 and has built a global audience of over 6 million unique users from 178 countries. Through his Twitter account, he has initiated and actively contributed to several conversations about issues that impact industry.

10. Strive Masiyiwa (Zimbabwe) @StriveMasiyiwa 95 tweets,   6,828 followers

Born in Zimbabwe, Masiyiwa is the founder of telecommunications services Group, Econet Wireless. Masiyiwa successfully fought a landmark 5 year legal battle in Zimbabwe beginning in 1998, which effectively ended the state’s monopoly in the country’s telecommunications sector. The company provides services related to mobile cellular telephony, fixed networks, enterprise networks, fibre optic cables and satellite services. One notices a number of tweets about business and social issues.

Chris Tredger – Online Editor