Strive Masiyiwa joins Netflix BoD
Econet chair Strive Masiyiwa has been appointed to Netflix board of directors.
The Zimbabwean billionaire telecoms exec, who is based out of London, founded Econet in 1998. The group currently has operations and investments in 29 countries across Africa and Europe, and includes the companies Econet Wireless, Liquid Telecom, Cassava Fintech, Econet Energy, and Vaya Technologies.
Netflix launched in Africa in 2016 in all 54 countries, beating competitors Amazon, Disney and Apple in terms of reach. However, regional connectivity has always posed challenges. Earlier this year it started testing mobile-only plans for the continent and is also working to increase its output of original African content.
Commenting on his appointment, Masiyiwa said: "Netflix is at the forefront of bringing great entertainment from anywhere in the world to everyone in the world, and I look forward to working with the board and all stakeholders to continue its traditions of innovation and growth," said Strive Masiyiwa.
Strive serves on several international boards including Unilever Plc, National Geographic Society, Asia Society, and the Global Advisory boards of Bank of America, the Council on Foreign Relations (in the US), Stanford University, and the Prince of Wales Trust for Africa. He is also a longstanding board member of the United States Holocaust Museum's Committee on Conscience.
However, some of Masiyiwa's most high profile work has beyond the TMT industry. A recognised philanthropist, in 1996 he and his wife established the Higherlife Foundation, which has supported the education of over 350,000 vulnerable and gifted children across Africa, as well as health, disaster relief and preparedness, and rural transformation initiatives.
He sits on the UN Global Commission for Adaptation focusing on climate change challenges and was most recently appointed a Special Envoy of the African Union to help coordinate Africa’s private sector efforts to procure medical supplies to fight the spread of Covid-19. He led a similar initiative to fight Ebola in West Africa in 2014-2015.
"We are delighted to welcome Strive to the Netflix board," said Netflix co-founder, chairman and co-CEO Reed Hastings. "His entrepreneurship and vision in building businesses across Africa and beyond will bring valuable insights and experience to our board as we work to improve and serve more members all around the world," Hastings continued.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos added: "I'm thrilled to have Strive join our board as we expand more across Africa and the world."