Who is Influencing Twitter Conversations About Climate Change in Africa?

12 November 2021,  Arekpitan Ikhenaode

Climate change is making headlines globally at the moment with COP26 currently taking place in Glasgow, United Kingdom, and as it goes with everything that is making news in Africa and globally, we turned to the world’s soapbox - Twitter - to find how climate action comes up in conversations about Africa.

We analyzed Tweets mentioning Africa and any of the 54 countries in Africa while tagged with “climate” to find out who has been driving conversations about one of the biggest issues facing Africa between April and August 2021.

The top 5 accounts that have been leading conversations and engagement belong to an environmentalist, a journalist, a communications expert, a radio personality and an economist. While we were intrigued by the absence of climate activists, the diversity of the voices represented by these accounts is proof that climate issues affect and should concern us all. And while their content doesn’t generate high engagement, it’s encouraging to see people in prominent roles continuously using their platforms to keep climate action under the spotlight.

1. Dr Richard Munang, Cameroon.

@RichardMunang is a Cameroonian environmental scientist with a PhD in Environmental Change and Policy. He is also a recipient of the UNEP Innovation Award in 2016 and currently serves as the Africa Regional Climate Change Coordinator at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) where he is responsible for guiding the implementation of UNEP’s climate strategies at national and regional levels. He published 40 tweets to 40.2k followers, most of them about the role of youth and innovation in tackling climate change, for example, this tweet stating,#cassava is #Africa’s gold#cassava is a game-changer as it's a #climate resilient crop and can produce up to 300 different products”. It’s also his most engaged post with 79 likes. When he is not using his platforms to highlight solutions, he uses it to amplify some actors taking action for the climate.

2. Boya Kiteti Loso, Democratic Republic of Congo.

@BoyaLoso is an economist at the Central Bank of Congo, and even though he only has 316 followers, he is incredibly engaged with climate issues and published 34 tweets, many of them offering comments on how bad politics and corruption hurt efforts to fight climate action in his country. His most engaged tweet showed his support for the country’s new anti-corruption prosecutor and expressed hope that they’d prioritize climate action. "Congolese welcome the USDOJ Sr Prosecutor for Anti-Corruption. Corruption is the cause of political chaos, bad economy and social misery in DRCongo.This cancer must be removed to make progress on the global strategy for Climate Change and for poverty alleviation in DRC."

3. Wanjohi Kabukuru, Kenya.

Award-winning environmental investigative journalist @WanjohiK writes extensively on energy, marine science and environmental conservation. He also engages frequently with economic development as it affects the environment. Kaburuku's most popular tweet says, "#InternationalDayofBiodiversity According to @NOAA the global benefit accruing from #corals stands at $29.5bn annually https://t.co/mWJfTe9JoZ @NatureSey #reefrescuers #CousinIsland @jalixmichel @ICRI_Coral_Reef @ICRSCoralReefs #circulareconomy @IPBES @africa_ci @AfricanClimate”. It’s among the 28 tweets he shared with 4.1k followers.

4. Kate Evyon, Kenya.

@EvyonK is a radio personality at Milele FM, a leading Swahili radio station in Nairobi. She shared 25 climate-related tweets with 84.3k followers - most of them news and calls to climate advocacy. In her most resonating tweet, which had 6 likes and 10 retweets, she wrote "Micheal: We all have climate money depending on how we use it. @CSL_Africa #ClimateStoryLabAfrica".

5. John Miano, Kenya.

@MianoJN is a digital communications consultant and a global contact facilitator at ActionAid. He shared 23 tweets with 65.4k followers, most of them discussing advocacy. His most engaged tweet said, “To be addressing the issue of climate change in Africa at this time is absolutely bold - @MathaiWanjira @WangariMaathai @TheDocubox @CSL_Africa #ClimateStoryLabAfrica.”