FEATURED: Over 300 villages benefit from Chinese digital TV project

Xing Yuchun(R), the Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda, handover the satellite TV project documents to Local Government Permanent Secretary Assoumpta Ingabire, after the signing. / Eddie Nsabimana

Chinese Government has completed a digital television project that will see more than 6,000 households from 300 villages across the country access digital television content.

Dubbed ‘Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages’, the project is among the 10 areas of cooperation agreed upon during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Johannesburg, South Africa, back in December 2015.

Through the project, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that China would implement satellite programmes with an objective to enable African rural areas to have access to digital signal with high quality images and rich TV programmes.

In Rwanda, the project started in June last year under the supervision of the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda and the Ministry of Local Government during which 300 TV sets, 600 projectors, 900 solar systems, 6000 StarTimes decoders, were installed by StarTimes  nationwide.

Each of the 300 villages has received 20 decoders installed in individual households or public places like health centres or cell offices.

Officials from local government ministry, StarTimes, Chinese Embassy in Rwanda and the general public at the handover event. / Eddie Nsabimana

StarTimes, a Chinese electronic and media company, also trained over 120 youths countrywide to help in installation and maintenance equipment upgrade to make sure the project succeeds.

During the official handover ceremony of the Satellite TV project to the Government of Rwanda held last week in Rulindo District in Base Sector, Xing Yuchun, the Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of China in Rwanda, said project will positively impact fellow Rwandans’ daily live through provide affordable access to information and digital technologies in rural areas.

“I hope this will extend the opportunities for better live, especially for the promising younger generation,” she said.

She said the project is crucial evidence that China and Rwanda relations are at the best level in history.

“We share the same world, with high technology, and I am confident that through joint efforts, we will promote China-Rwanda relations to a new stage and build closer and better friendly ties between the two peoples, “she added.

The government of Rwanda initiated TV penetration project in 2008, with objective to deploy digital TV transmitters to improve nationwide television coverage hence fulfilling citizen’s rights to information, education, communication and entertainment.

Assoumpta Ingabire, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Local Government said the implementation of the project will help to achieve an increased nationwide TV penetration and ensure a wider access to TV in rural areas.

“This programme will bring information and knowledge which are the driving forces of development. We are glad for the good partnership that both our countries have so far and I wish we have to keep it up even for the better,” she said.

Jess Jing, the CEO of StarTimes, said that, as a TV provider, StarTimes is eager to continue to work with Rwandan government and other organizations to ensure that Rwanda realizes full digital migration.

Thanks to the project, he said, “people from rural areas were able access on agriculture and with provision of education channels that have influence to increase innovation skills”

The community benefiting from the project will be free to enjoy a variety of free contents provided by the digital TV service provider.

Fabien Hitayezu, a TV recipient in Rulindo, said Television is already helping him access to information and has since learnt a lot of agriculture technologies to increase his productivity while her children get entertained and educated through the TV.

StarTimes will continue to do follow-up and provide necessary technology support and personal trainings.

Rwanda is one of the 25 African countries benefiting from the project.

During last year’s Beijing Summit on the Forum of China-Africa cooperation, launched other eight major initiatives including industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity.

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