Amolo Ng’weno, pioneer who brought ‘super internet’ highway’

Amolo Ng’weno

Never has a family been involved in building the history of a country like the Ng’weno family.

Amolo Ng’weno is sister to Bettina Ng’weno who was featured in this column last week. She is the eldest of the famous Ng’weno children. 

In her own right and space, Amolo is famed for excellent academic and professional achievements. After schooling in local schools, Amolo went to America and enrolled in Ivy League colleges for both undergraduate and graduate courses at both Havard and Princeton Universities.

Amolo is more known for the role she played in bringing the internet to East Africa when she teamed up with other Kenyans to start Africa Online. Their company operated in many countries in Africa and was later sold to a South African telcom provider.

Her background in Psychology, Social Relations and Public Affairs empowered her to be associated with startups that seek to encourage small and micro entrepreneurs to grow and sustain business.

Amolo has been involved in bringing solutions to small traders who are in need of technological financial and training solutions create sustainability for development. She held the position of Deputy Director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation  a portfolio that involved empowering the less privileged in developing countries.

Never to be left behind in conservation like her parents, Hillary and Fleur Ng’weno, Amolo established a foundation that was involved in researching and identifying locations where rock art was practiced in Kenya.

She also started Digital Divide Data Kenya, a company that was involved in preserving electronic versions of documents that would be helpful to both governments and private organisations. In order to return to the Kenyan community the company had a policy of employing staff drawn from disadvantaged groups.  

Before African Online, Kenya had no internet and President Moi’s government had resisted the licensing of any GSM company.

After the liberalisation, Amolo ensured Kenyans were connected to the super internet highway. Africa Online was the game changer before other providers like Wananchi Online, Safaricom and Airtel joined the fray.

The Ng’weno family are indeed makers of the Kenyan history. The patriarch was the founder of Kenya’s first political satire magazine Joe and Weekly Review, a weekly political magazine.