About 400,000 households could soon acquire digital TV sets in a $92 million project by Chinese global pay television network, StarTimes, according to Rwanda’s ambassador to China, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga. Amb Kayonga said the project is a partnership between the broadcaster and government and aims at increasing penetration levels and access to information, especially among rural communities in the country.
About 10 per cent of Rwandan households own a TV set, according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey 2013/14 report released in August 2015.
The envoy said that the initiative targets rural households, adding that the beneficiaries will pay for the TV sets supplied by StarTimes in installments over a six-year period. The project also includes construction of a call centre to support StarTimes and other sector players in Rwanda and beyond.
The initiative was discussed between the StarTimes Group and Minister for Youth and Information Communication Technology Jean Philbert Nsengimana during the visit to China by President Paul Kagame in mid-March, Amb Kayonga told Business Times in an interview in Beijing.
The firm has already launched a $4.1 million satellite TV project in Rwanda, according to Guo Ziqi, the StartTimes Group vice-president.
Meanwhile, Ziqi has said the firm will work with Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) to broadcast the forthcoming presidential election campaigns. Rwanda goes to the polls on August 17.
In a related development, William Masy, the director of brand and marketing and also the overseas public relations chief, said the company offers customers innovative projector TV system that are powered by solar energy.
StarTimes Media Group, digital technology provider, network operator, system integrator and content provider, opened shop in Rwanda in 2008. Currently, the company operates in 30 African nations and has more than 10 million subscribers.