Yesterday it was announced that Econet founder and Zimbabwean business/tech mogul Strive Masiyiwa would be joining Netflix’s board of directors, another illustrious role that he would add to a list that already includes serving as a director at Unilever, serving as a global advisory member for the Bank of America, and of course his various chairman, founder and board positions in multiple companies and organisations across Africa and the world. But as Zimbabweans have always viewed Mr. Masiyiwa as not only a role model for many in the nation, but also a hero for our beliefs, it’s obvious that the first reaction Zimbabweans had was whether this could have any benefit for them, specifically if it could grant them easier access to Netflix itself. And well, let’s see if that’s a possibility.
How did Strive get this job anyway?
Well, beyond saying “because he’s Strive Masiyiwa”(insert Batman-esque tone here) one might remember back in 2017 Mr Masiyiwa actually garnered a partner with Netflix for the upcoming Kwese Streaming Service to work on Roku boxes through what seemed to be Netflix’s infrastructure and deal with Roku. Hence a relationship with the company isn’t all that new. It is however a testament to the networks Mr Masiyiwa has amassed in his career and likely could be another note to add admiration for those who tend to learn from his endeavors. But now continuing to what you guys really care about.
So, can we pay Netflix with EcoCash anytime soon?
Well, that’s probably a little more dependent on Zimbabwe’s economy than just Netflix and Strive, though considering the latter’s history of trying to modernize Zimbabwe’s technology access and the services Zimbabweans can have at their fingertips, I wouldn’t put it past him to try. Products like the EcoCash debit cards or even Kwese itself where moves to allow Zimbabweans to have access to international services, products and even entertainment, so a move for Netflix to become more active in Zimbabwe and other Sub-Saharan African countries is definitely something we can look forward to on the horizon. This of course doesn’t guarantee that we could all pay for Netflix with the ZWL, but it could ensure easier accessibility than what is available now, similar perhaps to it’s much cheaper pricing options in India. And that’s probably a fair start to Zimbos having Netflix as compared to nothing being done.
After all, streaming isn’t a luxury
Contrary to what a lot of local Zimbabweans believe, streaming services are less of a luxury product and actually meant to be the “everyone has access” product that replaces traditional satellite dish or digital cable Tv as they are doing in more developed nations. Having access to Netflix shouldn’t be a “flex” as many Zimbabweans show it to be on social media but rather just another awesome benefit of modern technology and the internet, bringing you all the entertainment you want exactly when you need it. In fact we pointed it out before that having the 5 biggest American streaming services per month costs less than a single DSTV premium subscription! Strive Masiyiwa likely has a similar view, and if so, at least some more Zimbabweans could hopefully be benefiting from his seat on Netflix’s board, and that’s something we should all cheer for.