Netflix, Inc. has appointed Strive Masiyiwa to its board in a move expected to help the streaming firm expand across Africa and improve services for its customers on the continent.
Strive, the Chairman and founder of Econet Group, a telecommunications and technology group with operations and investments in 29 countries in Africa and Europe, is not new to the streaming business.
His company, Econet Media acquired iflix and was part of Kwesé’s diverse broadcast offering in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa. The deal was to help iflix utilize Kwese’s local knowledge, content and expertise in Africa.
Kwesé was then available in 13 countries but was shut down unceremoniously. After raising $50 million for growth and planning for an IPO, iflix also suddenly shut down in the Middle East in a bid to focus on its core markets in Southeast Asia.
For Netflix, the appointment gives it access to resources owned by Econet Group which runs Liquid Telecom, one of Africa’s foremost telecommunications group and data center operators giving the US-based streaming service a big push in the mobile entertainment era.
“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.”
Added Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos: “I’m thrilled to have Strive join our board as we expand more across Africa and the world.”
“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, and is a longstanding board member of the United States Holocaust Museum’s Committee on Conscience. A former board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he is Chairman Emeritus of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and African Union Special Envoy to the continent’s COVID response.