Celebrating the unsung hero

Miko Rwayitare was born in Rwanda, and made the first mobile phone call on the African continent. Miko completed his Primary school in Rwanda. He attended College St. Esprit in Burundi and completed his education in the DRC.
Miko Rwayitare
Miko Rwayitare

Miko Rwayitare was born in Rwanda, and made the first mobile phone call on the African continent. Miko completed his Primary school in Rwanda. He attended College St. Esprit in Burundi and completed his education in the DRC.

Miko graduated from the University of Karlsruhe with a BSc degree in electrical engineering. Later he was pointed the vice president of marketing at GECAMINES, Zaire’s state-owned mining Conglomerate.

In this position Miko travelled extensively and gained exposure to the role played by the foreign technologies. The engineer in him was fascinated with the technical advances in US and Europe and was intrigued at the thought of passing on this technical revolution to Africa.

In 1978, Miko created his first company, Computer &Industrial Engineering (CIE) based in Kinshasa. CIE distributed Hewlett packed and Xerox hardware and office equipment in DRC, Gabon, Rwanda, Cote d; Ivoire and Ethiopia.

In 1986, Miko founded Telecel international in Zaire and made the first African mobile phone call.

The African leadership academy, the school I am attending now, looked around and recognized the impact that entrepreneurs make on our daily life. African leadership academy realized that among all the other heroes, Miko, the Rwandan born entrepreneur with his strength and courage to invest and change Africa had to be remembered.

By the time Miko was pursuing his ideas, things were not good since infrastructure was underdeveloped and corruption flourished on a large scale in Zaire, as well as the rest of Africa.

He saw a need for Africa and chose to chase it until he captured his dream. He realized that to play it safe is not always the safer way. He was brave thus took initiative to change African telecommunication even though challenges were many and enormous.

Celebrating the unsung hero, on September 25 -2010, I got an opportunity to meet Miko ‘s family and Joe Gatt, Miko’s partner and friend, I was so pleased to see these people;  I was glad to meet those who had been close to the man who had Africa in mind and who has changed it remarkably.

I imagined what Africa would be like if Miko had not been able to introduce the technology that has improved the nature of communication. We are able to reach where our hands cannot reach. 

“ Miko was professional, socially fantastic , charismatic and intelligent, he had fire and knack for doing business, He always had a knack for knowing what would work, and had no problem taking risks, but he would always said ‘I am a thinker not a manager’,” Joe Gatt explains.

Heroes have values; they live by them to change society. Miko passed away unexpectedly on September 25/ 2005 in Begium. He left a legacy, it is up to us to pursue it.

emmanirakiza18@yahoo.com

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