Saturday, July 13, 2024

Ahmed Abdullahi Yare: Former teacher who owns one of biggest malls in Eastleigh

Ahmed Abdullahi Yare, a prominent Kenyan businessman based in Eastleigh, has made significant strides to the local business landscape.

As the owner of Yare Towers and Yare Plaza, he has transformed Eastleigh into a thriving business hub in Kenya and the region.

With his previous venture, Yare Business Park, he aimed at meeting the growing demand for business space in the area.

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This article looks into Yare’s inspiring story and his significant role in shaping Eastleigh’s business sector.

Early Life and Education


Born in 1954 in Wajir County, North Eastern Kenya, Yare, originally named Ahmed Sheikh Abdullahi, grew up in a pastoralist community.

“It is my mother who gave me the name Yare. Normally, I am known by two names – like Ahmed Yare. I adopted the name and today that is what everyone calls me,” he narrated in a past interview.

Despite facing financial challenges, Yare’s academic excellence led him to secure a scholarship to study at Exeter University in the United Kingdom.


However, his family’s financial constraints prevented him from pursuing his education there.

Undeterred, Yare enrolled at Kenya Science Teachers College and later studied at the University of Nairobi.

“Immediately after I finished, I did teaching practise at Shimo La Tewa and started working at Garissa Girls Secondary School in May 1976. By early 1977 the British Council called me for an interview. I passed, and they gave me a scholarship to Exeter University,” he recalled.

Before joining the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), Yare held positions as Principal at Sabuley High School, his former school Wajir High School, Eastleigh High School, and Nairobi School.

Venturing into Business

Following his successful teaching career, Yare ventured into the business world.

He established Yarena EPZ, a factory at the Export Processing Zone, manufacturing plastic products.

Yare’s company gained traction and began exporting its products to Ethiopia, DR Congo, and Uganda. However, the factory faced challenges and was eventually liquidated in 1997.

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Undeterred by setbacks, Yare diversified his business interests and entered the matatu industry, operating the Yarena Safaris transportation service in the South B and Eastleigh areas.

Unfortunately, the Saba Saba riots disrupted the matatu culture, prompting Yare to sell the business to Ethiopian investors due to the changing dynamics and security concerns.

“After Saba Saba (riots named after the July 7, 1990 riots), the matatu culture changed. Before that, it was very peaceful. So we sold the transport business off to some Ethiopians. I couldn’t manage it with that craziness,” he said.

Realizing the potential in the real estate sector, Yare made strategic investments by acquiring properties in South C and Mombasa.

However, it was his acquisition of a property in Eastleigh, formerly owned by the Stage Coach bus company, that marked a turning point in his entrepreneurial journey.

Transforming Eastleigh’s Business Landscape

Yare’s decision to focus on Eastleigh proved fruitful as he converted the property into Yare Towers and Yare Business Park, propelling Eastleigh’s development as a bustling business center.

Yare’s calculated approach to expansion and his meticulous research helped him understand the needs of traders and investors in the area.

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Yare Towers, a 10-storey architectural masterpiece, boasts an array of amenities, including retail stalls, a restaurant, a dental clinic, a barber shop, and a Salon spa for women.

Additionally, the building offers 39 modern serviced apartments with a rooftop pool, providing a comprehensive and convenient business environment.

Designed with spacious hallways, lifts, and escalators, Yare Towers ensures easy access and a seamless experience for tenants and visitors alike.

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