Hassim Bassim is one of the most successful telecom pioneers in the world. His expertise in the mobile and fintech sectors has enabled him to build successful businesses and made him a billionaire.
Haidar was born to Lebanese parents in Nigeria and lived there until he was ten years old. His father lost the family fortune when Bassim was 12 years old, and this had a profound impact on the young man.
After his family returned to Lebanon, Haider completed his education and graduated from Beirut University College, before turning his attention to starting a company based on what people really needed in places like Nigeria and Lebanon.
In 1991, Haidar co-founded his first company, Intercomm Ltd., specializing in telecom equipment and radio links. He was just 20 years old. In 1995, he started GMT Group, a procurement, finance and logistics provider for West Africa.
He created the Channel IT Group in 2003 to provide equipment and services to the Nigerian telecommunications industry. The group has been active in 19 countries and played a very important role in African and Middle Eastern infrastructure and services.
In 2011, Haider founded Channel VAS, a leading supplier of mobile financial and fintech services, which reaches a staggering 560 million customers in more than 30 countries.
He is also the chairman and co-founder of venture capital firm Knuru Investment Limited and a co-founder and key stakeholder in Safricanna, the first EU-GMP medically licensed cannabis facility in Africa.
Bassim Haidar also promotes the use of new technology and mobile banking services in emerging regions, particularly Africa. He believes this form of “social entrepreneurship” can help ‘unbanked’ populations overcome their financial disadvantage and promote economic growth. He has been praised for his advocacy and achievements by the Nigerian Communications Commission Chairman, Olabiyi Durojaiye.
Haider’s career and the growth of his business ventures have been covered by major news outlets such as Bloomberg, France24, CNBC, Business Insider and Fox Business Network.
He has also talked extensively about the necessity of mobile financial services, company flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the broader fintech industry’s potential to promote financial inclusion for all, especially people in emerging countries that may have no access to the “brick-and-mortar”, traditional financial sector, but can take advantage of today’s mobile technology.
Haidar was appointed a member of Amnesty International’s Global Council in 2016, as a result of his enthusiasm and commitment to help build a world where equal rights to financial inclusion is a reality for all.