Strive Masiyiwa (right) and Jeff Raikes, co-founder of the Raikes Foundation and former chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Photo: Strive Masiyiwa/Facebook

Netflix names first African to its board of directors

Netflix has announced it has appointed top Zimbabwean businessman and philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa to its board.

Masiyiwa is the founder and executive chairman of Econet Global, a telco company that traverses 29 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Econet group offers mobile payment, broadband distribution and satellite services.

His appointment is interpreted by analysts as a strategic move in line with Netflix’s plans to expand in other continents like Africa and Asia.

Netflix now has more than 190 million subscribers with US and Europe taking the lead.

Masiyiwa, one of Africa’s most successful entrepreneur who has been recognized worldwide for his sterling integrity, is a major force for development in his native Zimbabwe. 

His Econet Wireless Group has invested US$1.5 billion in the Zimbabwean economy since it was licensed in 1993.

In pursuit of his vision of bettering people’s lives through technology, Masiyiwa (59) is also involved in renewable energy solutions and agriculture.

Econet Renewable Energy Systems focuses on developing products made specifically to perform in African conditions – from low-voltage lighting solutions to solar-powered televisions and radios.

EcoFarmer, a mobile-based agricultural information and trade platform, aims to boost agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe by helping to cover farmers during drought periods and informing them about markets for their crops.

Masiyiwa is internationally recognised for his campaign against corruption in Africa. He is also a leading business voice championing the establishment and promotion of the rule of law as an important determinant of economic development in the continent.

The Econet Development Foundation, founded by Masiyiwa, invests in the education of orphans and underprivileged children, fighting HIV and Aids, and developing entrepreneurial skills among young people, among other activities.

Masiyiwa is a devout born-again Christian who devotes much of his time to educating African youths on entrepreneurship and on how the power of the Christian faith is key to achieving success with integrity.

Masiyiwa’s fortune is estimated at US$1.1 billion by Forbes.

Kola Tella & Adira Kallo

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