Hassan Bashir: From working hard-labour jobs to put himself through school to founding a top insurance company

It would an understatement to say Hassan Bashir is successful, especially given the cards he was dealt in his youth.

The abbreviated version of his life CV would read: born to a pastoral family in rural Kenya; he was unable to attend high school when he finished primary school due to financial difficulty; Bashir worked construction and other hard-labour jobs as a young child; then, eight years later, he paid his own way to study and finish high school exams; he enrolled at university, again paying for himself; he earned his degree; created a successful insurance broking firm and sold the broking firm; completed an MBA degree; co-founded a successful ICT company, which today is one of East Africa’s biggest players in this sphere; and most recently founded Takaful Insurance of Africa (TIA), a company that underwrites around US$15 million annually. Bashir is currently CEO of the Takaful Africa Group.

“It’s difficult to single out one particular thing that led me to where I am today,” he says. “I didn’t follow the usual route.” Following the peaks and troughs of his career, it’s evident that there’s a fierce tenacity in his approach to life and business.

Bashir is one of the 25 business people featured in How we made it in Africa: The book, which tells the stories of entrepreneurs who've built thriving ventures. The ebook launched on 15 October 2018.