Following the launch of the satellite TV project, yesterday, in Kpaduma Village, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria, about 1,000 villages in Nigeria will benefit from the project.
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the satellite TV project at the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he also announced a $60 billion pledge of financial commitment to Africa. In the past decade, China has deliberately shown a pattern of increased financial commitment in Africa. Usually announced during FOCAC: from $5 billion in 2006 to $10 billion in 2009, to $20 billion in 2012, and to $60 billion in 2015.
Although Beijing’s financial pledges to Africa, as announced in the past three years at FOCAC, were peaked to $60 billion. However, the government of China seem to have changed its commitment strategy in Africa to focus on investment and infrastructural development. One of such development strategies is the satellite TV project for 10,000 villages across Africa.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who led the Nigerian government delegation to the launch event in Kpaduma Village in Abuja, yesterday, “each of the 1,000 carefully-chosen villages in Nigeria will receive two sets of solar-powered projector television systems and one set of solar 32-inch digital TV integrated terminal system”.
”In addition, 20 recipient families with TV in each village will be provided with 20 sets of direct broadcast satellite terminal system free of charge.”
Mr Mohammed further said, “viewers in each village provided with the projector TV system will enjoy 21 satellite channels free of charge, while each of the 20 recipient families will have access to 33 satellite TV channels free of charge for two months. Thereafter, they can continue to enjoy access to the 33 channels by paying N900 per month, or enjoy limited access without payment.”
StarTimes, a privately-owned Chinese electronics, media and satellite TV company with a strong presence in Africa was contracted by the Chinese government to implement the project across Africa.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, StarTimes Nigeria, Justin Zhang, “We have entered an advanced stage in the installation of satellite TV access to 1,000 villages in Nigeria. The villages identified for this project will receive two solar power projector TVs for the community, digital TV sets, 20 satellite dish and decoders where they can watch more than 100 international and local channels all free of charge.”
It is believed that the project could help the beneficiaries access crucial information if completed before the general elections in Nigeria.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Editor at Space in Africa. He writes about Africa’s NewSpace companies and emerging national space programs.