Miko Rwayitare: Telecommunications Mogul and Philanthropist

As I continue profiling men and women who have inspired me, I write about a man who became a mentor, a business partner, a brother, an associate and a great friend: Miko Rwayitare. Miko was a visionary; his vision pertained to life in general and to the business world. In spite of his vast wealth accumulated painstakingly over a period spanning some four decades? he continuously engaged with world institutions such as the United Nations, the African Union and World Bank and other African regional institutions on how the continent of Africa and its great people could rise to be at par with the other four continents. He invested huge amounts of money in research and development, funding agricultural initiatives and academia,the end result of which was the inspiration to establish the Academy of African Excellence.

Miko Rwayitare

I travelled with Miko to various institutions of higher learning in America, in the early 2000′s as he negotiated partnerships with different faculties for the Academy of African Excellence. I travelled with Miko as he negotiated and lobbied for mobile cellular licenses with governing parties in Africa: ministers of telecommunications and finance, presidents, prime ministers and monarchs. In spite of his high level of achievement in life, he maintained a striking humbleness and embraced the obvious shortcomings of many of our decision- makers.

As a family man, despite his busy schedule which took him from country to country in Africa, Europe, America and Asia, as he negotiated the best supply contracts for his network, he loved his family dearly and his daughters and sons drew immense strength and guidance from him.

The idiom, ” The good die young because God takes soonest those he loves best”, truly applies in Miko’s case. Below is a brief biography:

Mr. Miko Alexis Rwayitare wa Gatare , 1942 – 2007

• 1942: Born in Rwanda, he did his primary education in Rwanda and completed his secondary education in the DRC, before proceeding to Germany.

• 1975: Graduated in Electronic Engineering at University of Karlsrushe Germany. Appointed Vice-President of Research & Marketing at Gécamines, the state-owned mining conglomerate in the DRC.

• 1977: Established Computer & Industrial Engineering (“CIE”) a distributorship of Hewlett-Packard and Rank Xerox products in the DRC and Gabon, Rwanda, Cote d d’Ivoire, Senegal and Ethiopia .

• 1986: Founded Telecel International, a cellular telecommunication networks operator in Congo (the first ever mobile cellular network) and the African continent. Here he made the first ever mobile call on the African continent, Telecel operations expanded to 12 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Niger, Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR), DRC, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

• 1995: Moved to South Africa to his new home and formed Mikcor Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a holding with  diversified interests in various sectors, such as broadband communications, real estate, hotels, and a wine farm. Participated and played advisory role in United Nations Advisory Panel on the topic of poverty alleviation .

• 2000: Signed a historic deal in which Egyptian Telecom Giant Orascom acquired significant stake in Telecel.

• 2005: Acquired Goal Technology Solutions a PLC broad-band company based on power-line communication technology, delivering triple play offering to consumers in the South Africa and rest of the African Continent

Vision for 2007 and beyond:
James Makamba and Miko Rwayitare
• “The Academy of African Excellence”, which he conceived to be a Pan-African, world-class university of academic excellence for the Africans. The focus of this high-tech Academy will be to deliver leadership training and leaders in the key fields of development in Africa, notably Agriculture, Health, Genetics, Leadership, Human Resources, Education, and ICT.

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