Ory Okolloh, co-Founder of the popular open-source platform Ushahidi, has decided to step down and join Google as their Policy Manager for Africa. Ory writes on her blog, “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.”
The steps Google is taking to recognize that tech in Africa is a sleeping giant is impressive. Black Web 2.0 has covered many startup companies and other tech ventures from within Africa. In 2011, we expect to hear increased activity from larger companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook with regards to their planned growth in Africa. Google has selected a well qualified individual for this important role.
Ory Okolloh is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in Political Science. She went on to earn her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Ory is a frequent speaker at conferences including TED, World Economic Forum, Poptech, CGI, Techonomy, Mobile Web Africa, and the Monaco Media Forum on issues around citizen journalism, the role of technology in Africa, and the role of young people in reshaping the future of Africa.
An additional past venture for Ory Okolloh was the creation of Mzalendo, a website that tracks the performance of Kenyan Members of Parliament. This volunteer project is designed to get underneath the “closed society” that the Kenyan government lives within. Another goal is to provide voters for the 2012 elections accountability tracking for various parliament members who are planning on running for election.
Google took a very promising step forward by hiring Ory Okolloh. We eagerly await additional comments and thoughts from Ory on her new role. It has been reported that she will be based in Johannesburg, South Africa and officially begin working in mid-January. Follow her on twitter at @kenyanpundit and take a look at her speaking about the success of Ushahidi in this CNN video below.