Is the Future of Twitter in Africa?

Twitter suffers from poor user growth, revenue and valuation. And now Dorsey's headed to Africa.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
Jack Dorsey announced he'd be spending a decent portion of 2020 in Africa. Why?
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Kayla Kibbe / December 17, 2019 10:16 am

Last month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sprung some big news on the world, including his employees, when he announced via Twitter that he’d be moving to Africa in 2020.

“Sad to be leaving the continent…for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020,” he wrote.

While the announcement came with no precedent or explanation, Vanity Fair‘s Nick Bilton suggests Dorsey’s move to Africa may be an attempt to capture an emerging market of new users for the platform, which has struggled to grow its user base. According to Bilton, Twitter currently has more than two billion fewer users than Facebook, with only 30 million Americans using the platform daily.

User growth isn’t the only problem Dorsey is either trying to fix or flee. Twitter is also suffering from slowing revenue and flat valuation. None of that is necessarily new, however. As Bilton notes, Twitter’s valuation “has never made sense,” with incongruous revenue and numbers that don’t match its influence.

So how has Twitter survived? According to Bilton, the company is still worth $23 billion thanks to the massive cultural influence of its most notable users — which include celebrities, journalists and a certain president.

But, asks Bilton, “if that can’t be monetized, what, really, is the point?”

Of the 1.25 billion people living on the African continent, only 388 million are online. Perhaps, in closing that gap, Dorsey hopes to recruit a few hundred million new Twitter users.

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