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Ebi Atawodi, former Uber West Africa manager, joins Netflix as director of payments

After spearheading Uber’s arrival and growth in West Africa, Ebi Atwawodi is heading to Netflix. 

She announced the move on LinkedIn, describing her six years at Uber as “a ride of a lifetime.” 

During her time at Uber as general manager, she was responsible for leading their expansion in Lagos and other West African cities. One milestone was in March 2016 when Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, became Uber’s 400th city

After being on the ground and leading those operations, Atawodi became Uber’s Head of Product (payments) in February 2017. While she now switches from the ride-sharing and logistics industry to entertainment, her focus remains on payments.

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with Netflix – the culture, the product, the impact it has had on the art of storytelling. Excited to be joining Netflix as Director of Payments, [Europe, the Middle East and Africa] and can’t wait to do the ‘best work of my life’,” Atawodi wrote.

Netflix added 8.5 million new subscribers in the last quarter of 2020, riding the pandemic’s work-from-home and lockdown wave. The company ended 2020 with over 200 million paying subscribers. No other streaming platform in the world has as many users.

An estimated 66.7 million Netflix subscribers are from the EMEA region. Netflix’s EMEA subscribers are expected to surpass those in North America in about two years, according to The Motley Fool.

Netflix launched in Africa in 2016. Recently, the streaming giant has been exploring mobile-only subscription plans to take advantage of the growth in smartphone and internet penetration. 

They started testing “Mobile” and “Mobile+” plans in Egypt in 2018 and South Africa in 2019. The plans will be priced at $2.30 and $3.50 per month, respectively.

Atawodi will oversee these payment dynamics to keep Netflix ahead of shrewd competitors in Africa’s streaming video on-demand market, especially Showmax. The Multichoice-owned service has been working to dominate the market by offering on-demand video streaming and live TV including football matches, music and news. 

Before joining Uber in 2014, Atawodi worked at Etisalat, the Nigerian telecommunications company that transitioned into 9Mobile, as their head of Corporate Communications and sponsorships.

In that role, she says she was involved in Etisalat’s partnerships with the Nigeria Communications Commission to enable users to port their numbers between telecom providers.

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