By Amos Njau
The Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and The Chinese Government has rolled out the 10,000 Villages Digital Television Project that will see beneficiaries across the 47 counties get access to satellite television services.
This being one of the ten Cooperation plans announced during the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) announced in 2015 in Johannesburg South Africa by the President of China Mr. Xi Jinping and attended byHeads of State and Government, Heads of Delegation, the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers in charge of economic cooperation from China and 50 African countries.
Speaking during the launch ceremony, the ICT Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru said “Government of Kenya and the Government of China have put in place elaborate structures to ensure that the project is implemented as envisaged, on our part as Government of Kenya we are fully committed to the development and application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for national development.”
The project which is expected to cost Ksh. 842,708,300 this being Ksh. 428,215,900 equipment and Ksh. 414,492,400 implementation cost will be implemented through the Ministry of ICT with digital television company StarTimes as the contractor.
16,000 individual households in 800 villages across the 47 counties will be connected with the Satellite television service composed of a satellite dish, a high definition set top box and accessories while 2,400 public institutions will be connected through a satellite projector TV system and 32 inch television sets.
The Chinese Ambassador to Kenya H.E Sun Baohong said that, “Am happy to note that out of the 10,000 villages across Africa, Kenya got the second highest allocation of 800 villages demonstrating the country’s strategic relations with China. This project will therefore go a long way towards carrying forward the traditional friendship under the China-Africa cultural and people-to-people plan.”
StarTimes Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mr. David Zhang noted that, “The village project in Kenya will create over 1,600 job opportunities directly as we intend to train at least two maintenance engineers in each of the 800 villages key in ensuring sustainability of the project beyond the implementation period while hundreds of other engineers will be enrolled to undertake installation for the beneficiaries across the country ahead of October 2018 completion date.”
Over one hundred and thirty (130) engineers have so far been trained as efforts are made towards full implementation of the project.