Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa, who founded telecom giant Econet Global, has joined the board of directors at Netflix.
“We are delighted to welcome Strive to the Netflix board,” Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings said in a press release. “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.”
Masiyiwa’s appointment to the streamer’s board comes a week after Susan Rice, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said she was relinquishing her Netflix board seat to join president-elect Joe Biden’s administration as of Jan. 20, 2021.
Masiyiwa, who has an estimated current net worth of $1 billion, is the founder of Econet Group which has operations and investments in 29 countries in Africa and beyond which includes Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s leading mobile operator; Liquid Telecom, the pan-African broadband company and its subsidiary Africa Data Centres, the fast-growing data center company, which just raised $300 million from the US government’s development finance arm.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos added, “I’m thrilled to have Strive join our board as we expand more across Africa and the world.”
Masiyiwa, in a statement provided by Netflix, 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.”
Masiyiwa serves on several international boards including Unilever, National Geographic Society, and Asia Society, and the global advisory boards of Bank of America, the Council on Foreign Relations in the U.S., Stanford University, and the Prince of Wales Trust for Africa. He’s also a longstanding board member of the United States Holocaust Museum’s Committee on Conscience.
Netflix has been expanding its influence across Africa rapidly in the last year as it rolls out a haul of original African shows and movies led by talent and producers from South Africa and Nigeria. It has been trying to figure out ways to make its service more accessible and affordable particularly in most African countries where watching video over internet usage is sometimes discouraged by costs or poor quality