500 villages across Uganda are now connected to digital satellite television in a move to widen the digital migration coverage and increase access to information and knowledge for the rural poor.
The connectivity, under a $10m initiative 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 among 10 major cooperation programmes meant to boost cooperation between China and Africa in three 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.
Role of StarTimes
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 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.
Wang said the 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 programmes 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 centres can use them for demonstration purposes. Children can now have video illustrations especially in science practicals.
“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 Johannesburg, South Africa on December 4, 2015 while delivering a keynote speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China would implement satellite TV programmes for 10,000 African villages.
During the Summit, China decided to provide $60 billion of funding package which covers industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, infrastructure, financial services 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.