Since exiting public office alongside former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022, former ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has shied away from the public limelight. He has, however, been quite busy – getting back to his roots working on technology for the continent.
Mucheru is currently the President of Jumo, an eight-year old fintech startup. As of 2021, the company was valued at $400 million.
According to the company, Mucheru was brought on for his vast experience and knowledge of Africa’s technology landscape. Mucheru served as Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary between 2015 and 2022.
Prior to joining the government, he had played a central role in steering Google’s operations on the continent. He was Google’s first employee in Sub-Saharan Africa and led Google’s operations in the region as Regional Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa.
“He brings a wealth of government experience and in-depth knowledge of pan-African tech to the Jumo executive team and board,” Jumo states. The company’s day to day running is led by founder and CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball.
The fintech uses AI and machine learning to offer credit for small businesses in African countries including Kenya. It claims to have disbursed over 4 billion dollars since 2015.
Mucheru stated following his appointment; “Organisations like JUMO have never been more important for protecting livelihoods, facilitating financial inclusion, and driving economic growth.”
During his vetting before Parliament in 2015, Mucheru disclosed a net worth of Ksh500 million along with Ksh267 million in deferred income.
After completing ‘A’ and ‘O’ Levels at Lenana School, Mucheru proceeded to City, University of London where he graduated with a Bsc. Economics and Computer Science in 1993.
Between 1997 and 1999, he had a stint at Internet Solutions (formerly Interconnect Limited) where he started as a webmaster and helped grow the firm’s web business in Kenya.
He struck it big at his next stop. Mucheru co-founded Wananchi Online with Njeri Rionge in 1999, a telcoms and media operator that bagged a sizeable share of the market as it provided internet for businesses and homes.
Wananchi Online capitalized on the opportunity to provide the emerging African mass consumer market with high quality yet affordable home internet services. Between 1999 and 2007, Mucheru took on multiple roles at Wananchi including Chief Technology Officer and Chief Executive Officer before joining Google.
In 2009, Wananchi sold a 50% stake to US private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) for Ksh2 billion.