“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
In a lot of ways, Faysal Hawar, is like any other successful Somali in the Diaspora.
He always held a steady job, he reads news outlets to stay current, enjoys watching the premier league, and loves to swim on a beach front.
But a single act stands this engineering professional apart from his peers and many more in the Diaspora: He returned to the land of the hopeless to sell what its residents yearned the most; hope. Somali Public Radio staff honors Mr. Faysal Hawar as the person of the year for reviving hope through innovative leadership.
Childhood and Education:
Mr. Faisal Ahmed Yusuf, more known as Faisal Hawar was born in Aden of Yemen in 1963 where his father, the late Haji Hawar held a successful middle management career with the British Petroleum of Yemen. Feysal HAWAR did his early schooling in Mogadishu of Somalia.
Higher Education Pursuit:
Bachelor’s degree in (Statistics, Economics and
Operation Research) from University of Pune,
Maharashtra, India in 1987
Master's degree in “Statistics, Operations Research
and Computer Programming” in 1989 from Aligarh
Muslim University of India
Postgraduate Diploma in Business Computing from SCOTVEC – Edinburg, Scotland 1993.
Mr. Hawar’s career started in January 1991 with UAE's leading telecom company Etisalat 1991 as Computer Systems Quality Controller. In a short period of eight years, Feysal emerged from junior-starting engineer, to talented middle manager, becoming one of the key managing engineers for the historical project of introducing the GSM system into the UAE in August 1994 and many more historical projects.
Mr. Hawar left ETISALAT HQ in early 1998 and joined a start-up bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, when the bank was still on a paper based company as Head of their IT Operations. In late 1999, Mr.Feysal joined back Etisalat Group and joined their Thuraya Satellite Telecommunication Company. His role and capacity started as Billing Bureau Administrator (1999 - 2001) where he successfully implemented US $ 39 million dollar project in just one year, Billing Operations Manager (2001 - 20003), Manager Customer Care and Billing Systems (2003-2004), Billing and IT Manager (2004 -2006). In 2007 – 2008 he became “The Chief Information Officer - CIO”, leading five sub-departments and total staff of 89 with over total Capex/Opex of 30 Million USD.
Recently, Faisal relocated to Dar es Salaam as Chief Information Office “CIO/Director” of IT for Zanzibar Telecom "Zantel - part of Etisalat. His job at Zantel could easily be termed as the 5th Start Up / green field company that he worked, where the entire infrastructure of Zantel is completely laid down in nine months with a CAPEX tag of US $ 26 million in just 9 months.
Apart from his day job, Faisal started several consultancy companies that delivered memorandum of understandings between various governments and business entities. Faisal also served as an advisor to various African government entities and helped foster numerous FDI’s into Africa.
Shooting for the Stars:
Maybe he was bored in the I.T industry, maybe he is a dreamer, or perhaps he has a passion for serving and participating in Somalia’s reconstruction. Whatever the motive, Faisal left comfort and stability to a setting linked with failure, a place whose mention evokes images of horror.
Mid 2012, inhabitants of Laasqoray witnessed a historical moment, an essential progress that revived the spirit of a decade old project. Three vessels carrying equipments and foreign expertise docked in the town’s 400 year old jetty, marking a milestone achievement that took residents of the coastal town and it’s Diaspora by surprise. Though the Laasqoray Jetty Project was in a proposal stage for a decade, Faisal strategy has not been tried in Somalia.
FDI’s and Exploring Makhir’s Geological Pottential:
“Our approach is called FDI’s, and trust me it has built so many ports and airports” Faisal Hawar
Faysal Hawar believes that FDI’s can contribute significantly to local economic development and can integrate isolated mountainous Sanaag to a world economy. “We can change the dynamics of our region,” stated Faysal in an interview with Somali Public Radio June 2012. Last year, Faisal Hawar as the head of the new Makhir Resource Company conducted a successful awareness campaign, hosting both investors and experts in Somalia’s Sanaag region. The discussion was on the realm of geological potential of the region on a frame that suits the mutual interest of investors and stakeholders.
After months of being on a campaign trail to sell hope, Faisal’s Makhir Resource Company brokered a deal with a Greek investment group. Weeks ago, on an interview with Somali Public Radio, Mr. Hawar was pleased to share that his company brokered a deal. ” With the Greeks, we agreed to start the Phase A of the Laasqoray Commercial Port construction, a 400 meter concrete pier of the Jetty with conveyor belts designed to load ships of up to 20,000Mt, at sea depth of –9/-10 meters.” Mr. Hawar added that it also includes the necessary Quarry for the Jetty Construction.
In the years to come, Faisal Hawar will be seen either as a visionary or a lunatic who squandered his money and time on a crazy dream. A dream if attained could and would be replicated in various Somali regions; a dream if attained could uplift my kinsmen from poverty and gloom.