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China invests $10m in connecting 500 villages to satellite TV

500 Ugandan villages across the country have been connected to the digital satellite television. This is in a bid to widen the digital migration coverage and also increase access to information and knowledge for the rural poor.

The project dubbed Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages, is funded by the government of China and implemented through the Ministry of ICT and national guidance. The project, is mong 10 major cooperation programs to boost cooperation between China and Africa in a period of 3 years.

Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages is a China-Africa Cooperation project which aims to reduce the digital divide in African rural areas by giving villages access to digital television.

Digital TV operator StarTimes was chosen to carry out the project under the guide of Chinese and Ugandan governments. Through the initiative StarTimes will supply all hardware of the project, install them in each of the 500 villages that were selected to benefit from the project as well as maintain equipment once the project is complete

According to Mr Andy Wang, the Chief Executive Officer Star Times Uganda, all the 500 villages across the country have been aided with two StarTimes Projector TVs, one 32 inch Digital TV set and 20 DTH decoders and satellite dishes. Projector TVs and Digital TV set will be equipped with solar power system and DTH access units.

Mr Wang said this project will ensure effective communication in such a way that many Ugandans will easily be reached especially with government programmes since now many rural Ugandans will have access to Television.

“The project aims to implement satellite TV programs for 10,000 African villages and enable more African rural families to watch satellite TV which highly in accordance with StarTimes’ corporate vision which is To ensure that every African family can access, afford, watch and share the beauty of digital TV”, he said.

He said the project will help improve on the service delivery. This is because places like schools and health centers can use them for demonstration purposes. Children can now have video illustrations especially in science practical’s.

Secondly with the provision of channels like Divinci Learning on the decoders, will help sharpen and increase innovation amongst pupils in the science sphere.

“This project will help in job creation for the youths who will work as technicians in these 500 villages where the project will be implemented. Over 1000 youth will be trained and hired as   technicians to help in installing and maintaining of these equipment,” he said.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannsburg, South Africa Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China would implement satellite TV programs for ten thousand African villages on December 4, 2015 when he was delivering a keynote speech.

During the South African Summit decided to provide $60 billion of funding package which covers the areas of industrialisation agricultural modernisation, infrastructure, financial services people to people exchanges among others.

China in Uganda

China’s financing in Uganda is also growing rapidly, targeting energy and transport sectors. The major projects signed with China Exim Bank in Uganda include: $1.4 billion and $483 million for Karuma and Isimba hydropower dams, respectively. This is in addition to the $350 million for the construction of the Kampala- Entebbe express highway.

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