Joseph Mucheru, Google’s Regional Lead for in Sub Saharan Africa and Country Manager for Kenya, has been nominated for the position of Cabinet Secretary for ICT. Mucheru’s nomination was announced as part of a cabinet reshuffle that saw previous Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i moved to the Education portfolio.

Mucheru joined Google in June of 2007, where he led the delivery of strategy, business planning and operations. He is also the Energy Access and Investments Regional Lead for Google in Africa.

Prior to Google, he held various roles at Wananchi Online, the parent company of internet service provider Zuku, which he helped to co-found in 1999. He served as Chief Technology Officer, Strategy & Business Director and CEO. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Economics & Computer Science at City University London in 1993, and has attended The Stanford Executive Program at Stanford University in 2008.

Reacting to the appointment, Kenyans on Twitter expressed optimism that Mucheru will draw on his experience at Google to help  Kenya’s ICT ecosystem grow.

Startup founders are also optimistic about Mucheru’s potential impact on their space. “He’s a great choice. Very experienced both in startups, investing and running established tech businesses”, says Trevor Kimenye, CEO of Ongair, a bulk messaging startup. “Really looking forward to seeing his impact”.

According to digital strategist Mark Kaigwa, who is the founder of media consultancy Nendo, the nomination is momentous, especially given Mucheru’s tech credentials. “The nomination is a win for the administration with what Mr. Mucheru brings, a win for the tech community. He pioneered the internet age in Kenya and has led Google’s efforts in Africa. He brings clout, respect, and perhaps a great sense of expectation with him to the ICT space in the public service,” Mark notes. “The Silicon Savannah couldn’t ask for a better ambassador and champion. I’m sure the technology community will extend a good amount of grace to him, but at the same time they will hold to a high standard.”

Mucheru is a founding member of the Computer Security Incidence Response Team of Kenya (CSIRT). In December 2010, he was awarded the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear, in recognition of his contribution to ICT in Kenya. He is a member of the Africa Leadership Network, The Kenyan National Prayer Breakfast, and the East African Business Summit.

Mucheru is on the boards of UAP Investments, Bitpesa and GiveDirectly, who are all in the financial technology space. He is also on the M-Pesa Foundation Academy Advisory Board.

Mucheru’s nomination is similar to that of Nzioka Wata, who was Safaricom’s head of Corporate Affairs before being appointed Secretary for Delivery. Like Nzioka before him, Joe’s expertise in the private sector should find plenty of use in Government.

Before his appointment is finally confirmed, Mucheru will have to be vetted by the National Assembly.

Photo credit: LinkedIn

Eric Mugendi Author

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