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Where Africa and Technology Collide!

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)


  1. WhiteAfrican,
    Can you clarify? Does this mean that Joseph leaves Wananchi Telecom?

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. Congratulations are in order Mucheru, me thinks google couldnt have made a better choice. Blaze ahead.

  9. 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

  10. Congratulations Mucheru,

  11. Joseph Mucheru

    June 6, 2007 at 4:52 am

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. Joe
    Congrats man..

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. {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?}

  17. 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?

  18. 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!


  19. Muniu Muiruri

    June 6, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Congrats! Joseph is a true trail blazer!

  20. Heartiest congratulations from all of us at Intersat, you deserve this more than anyone else!

  21. Njambi Waruhiu

    June 11, 2007 at 3:58 am

    Hey Mucheru,
    Congratulations!!!! We are very proud of you.

  22. 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.

  23. Nicholas Wahome

    June 12, 2007 at 1:40 am

    Hats off Joe, you deserve it! you’ve earned it!

  24. Arthur Muchangi

    June 15, 2007 at 3:02 am

    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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. Kelvin Karungu

    June 25, 2007 at 3:15 am

    Kudus Mucheru, well done.. Keep up the good work..

  29. Roy Kinyanjui

    June 26, 2007 at 1:49 am

    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.

  30. Bernard Ng'ang'a Gatumbu

    June 27, 2007 at 12:00 am


    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!

  31. Bryan Waruhiu

    July 3, 2007 at 2:54 am

    Congratulations on your appointment!!
    Bryan Waruhiu
    Githunguri, Kenya

  32. 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.

  33. Martin Nyanjom

    July 14, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    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!!

  34. Richard Nyambaka

    July 19, 2007 at 6:56 am


    Congratulations for this new appointments.

    Richard Nyambaka

  35. Theuri Gatonye.

    August 30, 2007 at 7:32 pm

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

  36. Douglas Ndiritu Mwangi

    September 12, 2007 at 12:05 am


    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!

  37. Mucheru,
    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.

  38. Acumen Fund New York

  39. 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?

  40. I am a web developer and interested so much in search engines, currently ii am working on modalities to start our own kenyan search engine. i am doing a test on it @ http://search.shawayltd.com. Incase it proves good i will be releasing it any time soon. Any nice idea that you guys might give. Thanks
    +254720789254 sebbybey@msn.com

  41. I am a web developer and interested so much in search engines, currently i am working on modalities to start our own Kenyan search engine. i am doing a test on it @ http://search.shawayltd.com. In case it proves good i will be releasing it any time soon. Any nice idea that you guys might give. Thanks
    +254720789254 sebbybey@msn.com

  42. congrats!you are among the most hard working fellows in kenya….you deserve that post. kudos…

  43. 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?

  44. Congratulations Mucheru!!! Keep blazing the trail!

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

  46. 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!!

  47. Well done!!

  48. Great work mucheru.but how will manage your job while at stanford

    June 1, 2008 at 3:59 am

    Mucheru heading stanford. What of google job in nairobi

  49. George Mwangi

    June 3, 2008 at 10:22 am

    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)

  50. Coz Obama anakuwa prezzo?

  51. There is definately no other man best befitting for the job. congratulations to you on your appointment. Kuddos brother !!!!!!!!!
    Keep it blazing.
    Fredrick Mucheru

  52. 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


  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. Hello,

    Kindly provide the address for Google Kenya.

    Moses Owiti Mbora.

  56. congrats joe.usiu produces great people i tell you

  57. 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!!

  58. Hi
    So this is where you are. CONGRATULATIONS.Guess its hard work.

  59. Joe,

    Congratulations for the splendid job you are doing at google. Keep it up. Best regards.

  60. Having seen him at a close range, i have a conclusion that he was not a mistake.
    He has a touch with the way he works. I like his PR. Keep it up Joe!

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