Google’s new appointment of a 33-year-old Kenyan to manage its Africa policy has been described as a “coup” by authoritative US technology magazine FastCompany.
Google recently appointed Ory Okolloh, an online activist and co-founder of Ushahidi, as Policy Manager for Africa. Ushahidi is a famed crowd sourcing site dedicated to information collection, visualisation and interactive mapping.
Google’s appointment shows its confidence in Africa’s digital growth and recognises the continent as a future tech giant.
Okolloh is a TED fellow, Global Voices contributor and a Harvard-educated lawyer. She is a regular speaker at prestigious conferences such as TED, World Economic Forum, Poptech, CGI, Techonomy, Mobile Web Africa, and the Monaco Media Forum on issues around citizen journalism. She has been very active in building Africa’s technological landscape.
Okolloh comes into the role with a strong background in law having worked as a corporate lawyer for an organisation in support of entrepreneurs in South Africa. She has also been at the helm of Ushahidi for the last three years. Okolloh steps down as Ushahidi’s Executive Director and will take up her new position in Johannesburg, South Africa mid January.
According to a recent post on her blog Kenyan Pundit she writes “the role will involve developing policy/strategies on a number of areas of relevance to Google and the Internet in Africa and will involve working with different parties including government leaders, policy makers, regulators, industry groups and so on.
“It is a huge opportunity to bring Google’s resources to bear as far as the growth and development of the internet in Africa. I’m very excited about the move and I hope I can continue to lean on your support and insight in my new role.”
ReadWriteWeb noted that Okolloh’s portfolio will include the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Overall, I’ll be working to get more people online and policies favourable to that, also (cultivate) support for local content and an environment which supports innovation,” she tells ReadWriteWeb.