Google Hires First African Employee

Joseph Mucheru has been named the new site lead for Google Kenya. This was whispered to be happening, but at today’s Google lunch at TEDGlobal the position was made official by Francoise Brougher, Director of Google Business Opportunities.

This is great news for East Africa and Google. They’re getting one of the true leaders in the ISP space, and someone who has a great deal of experience navigating the many difficult situations that arise in the African IT sector.

Below is a picture of Joseph talking with Russell Southwood (who writes the excellent Balancing Act emails)

Joseph Mucheru and Russell Southwood

(more pictures on Flickr)

Congratulations Joseph!

(Note: This is Google’s first sub-Saharan Africa employee, not counting a couple sales guys in SA)

70 thoughts on “Google Hires First African Employee

  1. Alan says:

    Just curious about his Resume. I know Google mostly hires PHDs but there are lot’s of exceptions.

  2. Could you give us an idea of what Google Kenya and even Google Nigeria,South Africa,Ivory Coast and the other regional/national spin-offs,intend to bring to the Internet and Software industry in African market ?

    Does google plan to be influential in the dissemination of Wi-fi spots in Africa, do they plan to assist in the developmet of software that meet African nation specific needs ?are googlle african spin1oofs be listed on African stock exchanges ?

    keep us posted on the happennings of TED Africa the next chapter, bring us plenty more pictures,videos,podcasts for the post- Ted brainstorming session.

  3. E-Nyce says:

    In short, we want to know exactly what this means for African consumers, beyond just having a black face in the public eye. It’s all nice to hire a token, no matter how qualified, but what are the company’s commitments to Africans’ regional needs?

  4. joe says:

    slow down guys nobody ask u why u want to open a duka around the corner – if google wnat to spend money to make money let them!

  5. are not the questions I have asked valid ? I just would like to know their plans for the different markets in sub-saharan Africa ? it would help me see in which way companies,investors,contractors,and workers can benefit from Google operations in these market.

    do not get offended on behalf of google, save your energy yo !
    I am a youngster fully interested in the economic affairs of these markets.
    I am legitimate stakeholder in the affairs of Africa,so please let me do my thing.
    peace out.

  6. Joseph Mucheru is an icon in the Kenyan Internet and has blazed a path with the company he created in 1999, Wananchi Online. Which overturned the way in which internet was offered/sold to the market. Wananchi means “citizens” – the company was first to introduce sub-$20 unlimited internet access, with a wide variety of add-on extra services.

    Joseph is a brilliant, imaginative and very thorough Internet & ICT professional. If there’s anyone who can chart a way forward for Google innovation in Africa – he is it!

  7. Mike Barnard says:

    Congratulations Mucheru, i believe Google have made the right choice on this one. We await the wonders that shall come out of this judging from the great things that Wananchi Online introduced into the Kenyan ICT market

  8. Joseph Mucheru says:

    Dear Friends,

    I would like to thank you all for your support messages and appreciation of this great opportunity. I am humbled to have been selected for this responsibility. Trust me the process was not short or easy. It is true I have left Wananchi Online/Telecom – more on that later

    I would also like to thank Google for taking the bold move of not only getting into Africa, but also listening to Africans and selecting one of us to lead in the region.

    Thank you all for the great support.

  9. Congratulations Joe,

    You are well deserving of this posting. I can only imagine the sacrifices you have had to make, but I couldnt agree more with Google’s choice.

    I wish you well in your new responsibility.

  10. Joseph, getting Wananchi Telecom to where it is was not ‘short’ or ‘easy’……….you are the right man for the job! Sad to see you leave Wananchi though! The sky is the limit my friend!

  11. Congratulations. For those of us who know you and more so have had the privilege of working with you in the IT industry, we are very proud of you.

  12. E-Nyce says:

    {Hash, since yesterday I cannot post Comments in Firefox. Keep getting an error “Error: This file cannot be used on its own.” Anyone else getting this error?}

  13. E-Nyce says:

    Mr Mucheru, we’re all happy or very supportive of your posting. Congratulations!

    Now, would you be willing to answer N’sienie questions, hopefully as an official of Google; or if that’s not possible then as private IT professional who would and could influence web-centric IT development in Kenya?

  14. congrats, joseph!….google is known for their for good decision-making and your hiring is no different…good for them and good for you — very proud!


  15. He is the right man for the job. I have a few friends and folks who have worked with him at Wananchi so I can say he is the man. Sky is the limit . Just go on. Lets see google on the NSE in the near future.

  16. Arthur Muchangi says:

    Congratulations Bwana Mucheru,

    As i happen to know Mucheru personally abit of a story is in order. I remember one evening several years ago, sitting on a coffee table outside Green Corner Restaurant, Mucheru excitedly telling me his vision on how he intended to revolutionalise the internet market in Kenya.

    At the time , ISP’s were few and far apart and the cost of surfing was ridiculous to say the least.

    I quickly dismissed his crazy ideas and told him to get a grip on himself and concentrate on more tangible, feely type of businesses.

    Neverthereless, he already had a business card for his yet to be registered and operationalised business venture.

    i have just opened my business card holder and what do i see first? a very old but well designed business card with the title “Wananchi Online-Business Solutions Director” Oh!!how nostalgic recalling that moment almost 10 years ago has been.

    I wish you all the best bro. Am proud of you and your achievements. You know how to run the show. Congrats again.

  17. arkyse says:

    As a Changez Alum I am really proud of you and all the other ex Changerians blazing the trail as stars in corporate Kemya/Africa.
    The list includes yourself, Lutta,Kukubo,Kobia,Mwangoji,
    Makhulo to name a few.

  18. Muriithi says:

    Mucheru did a pretty thorough job at Wananchi and I have no doubt that he will deliver at Google. Better yet is that we may have beaten SA to it this time round. Heko Mucheru!

  19. Wamaitha says:

    Congrats Mucheru!
    Always look back with pride at the foot prints you’ve left along the IT path in Kenya. Truly Mucheru, you deserve this.
    Baraka tele.

  20. Roy Kinyanjui says:

    This is what we’ve all been waiting for. A true leader, our very own. Most definitely “the team” feels so proud of you Mucheru and we hope to join your team. I salute you!! Congrats.

  21. Bernard Ng'ang'a Gatumbu says:


    I was wondering what became of you now that you left WOL. so i decided to Google your name….and SHOCK you are actually Google itself. CONGRATULATIONS, you truly deserve to champion the African rep for Google. Keep the dream alive!

  22. Congratulations are in order Mucheru. The last time I heard about Google and Kenya was their setting uo base here and something about Google apps fr Kenyan varsities.
    I am interested to know where Google places open source in its operatins, strategies and applications provision.
    All the best in your new appointment.

  23. Martin Nyanjom says:

    Congratulations on this major appointment. It gives me pleasure as a Kenyan to be proud of your achievement.
    Always remember that you are an icon in the IT world and constantly challenging yourself to be the best will always be required as your chart your future course.Kudos!!

  24. Theuri Gatonye. says:

    Mr. Mucheru is an absolute visionary!! Google has chosen the right man for the job..! Congratulations!!!

  25. Douglas Ndiritu Mwangi says:


    Long Live Google!

    I really think Kenya as a Hub is the right choice, we have the most important thing which is a hardworking and very innovative personnel to offer. Again with the International bandwith that Google that will buy definitely will reap more than their expectation in this market.
    The government is also supporting ICT kabisa.

    Hongera Mucheru!

  26. Wangari says:

    I bet this is a belated congratulations; am a fellow working with Acumen Fund; of which Google is a partner.I come from Nairobi and yes would love to see the maps done.

    All the best in setting up office.

  27. ojienda m. says:

    this is a great opportunity for Africans to show what they are made of. I guess itabibidi Afrika nzima watu wajifunze Kiswahili. Mucheru endelea vivyo hivyo tunakutakia kila la heri. niko excited ni aje?

  28. Stef says:

    First African? White African? Why am I dissapointed that you neve had one for so long yet google is wide used in africa.

    This is not something you should even bring out. Just let us know he is now on board which we are happy for but for all this years you never thought any african was qualified to be in your employ?

  29. Steven Kamau says:

    We used to call you space in London, Now you are google, how fitting. CONGRATULATIONS AND KEEP GOING

  30. Dan Nyamai says:

    have read, seen and heard al sorts of comment. My BIG pause to you Mucheru…revolutionise Kenya and more so East Africa..want to see detail with google kenya under your wing.Particulary mapping.

    Kudos.All the best.
    The time starts NOW!!

  31. Great work mucheru.but how will manage your job while at stanford says:

    Mucheru heading stanford. What of google job in nairobi

  32. George Mwangi says:

    Huts Off Mucheru.. Great minds makes great solutions if Wanachi Online grew that much under your stewardship then we are set for great things in Sub saharan Africa IT wise..
    Cheers Joe! You are truly a great African!
    Keep the light shining!
    G.Mwangi (Kericho – Nyeri)

  33. Gichaga says:

    Mucheru,you are the man i thank God for you.I know it was not an easy road to be there. All the best we will join you soon. Enjoy Life


  34. joseph says:

    i am a BA (marketing) graduate from united states international university. want to know are there job opportunities in google kenya or else where and how do i apply. please reply.

  35. joseph says:

    i am a BA (marketing) graduate from united states international university. want to know are there job opportunities in google-kenya or google-elsewhere and how can i apply? please reply.

  36. Dan Nyamai says:

    Since my last comment a year ago ‘Dan Nyamai 04.17.08 at 11:17 am” yes i can attest the immense improvement in Google mapping…now i can trace my grandma right from shaggs to my pals all over the world.
    The most interesting bit is am able identify and find my way around from within the country to immediate borders..i love Google…i can plan my drive aways confidently!!! Keep up the good work!!

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