KIGALI - Fallen Rwandan-born billionaire Alexis Miko Rwayitare will be buried next Thursday in Johannesburg, South Africa, close relatives have said. He held a South African passport.
The 65-year-old died Tuesday morning in Belgium after developing complications following a ‘minor’ surgery on Monday.
Sources said he died after repeated surgeries on an internal organ which resulted in intense bleeding.
The body is expected in Johannesburg tomorrow and a requiem mass is scheduled for next Wednesday, a day before the burial.
Meanwhile, the local business community is still shocked by the news of Miko’s death.
The Director of Trade and Regional Integration in Private Sector Federation (PSF), John Bosco Kalisa, said his death was a very big loss. He added that Miko was a potential investor in the country.
The Public Relations Officer of PSF, Natasha Haguma, said that the local business community was organising a vigil for the departed tycoon.
“We intend to have a night vigil for Miko, but we have not yet set the date,” she said.
He is reportedly the father of mobile telecommunications in Africa after making the first mobile phone call on the continent in 1986.
The State Minister in charge of Energy and Communication Eng. Albert Butare said that there had never been much of Miko’s investments in the Rwandan communication sector.
“I am informed that he was one of the bidders to buy Rwandatel. It is so sad that we have lost him,” he added.
Miko’s involvement on the local scene has not been significant compared to his multi-million dollar investments in South Africa and in other countries in Central and West Africa.
The fallen industrialist had announced his entry into the club of local investors last November when he took over Hotel des Mille Collines, which is located in the heart of Kigali City. He was also on the boards of various companies outside Rwanda.
The Secretary General in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Justin Nsengiyumva, described Miko’s death as a big loss to the continent.
“He was a potential investor in our country; he was trying to elevate business in Rwanda to an international level; we have lost a great man,” Nsengiyumva said.
Miko is survived by wife Consolatta Rwayitare and seven children.
Most of his family members are reported to be in South Africa in preparation for the funeral.