Strengthening China-Africa Partnership

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Xi Jinping
President of China, Xi Jinping

Jonathan Eze writes on an initiative that is focused on harnessing the potential of the entertainment industry to improve the standard of living of Nigerians

Until 2017, several rural communities in Nigeria and other countries of Africa were not as involved in enjoying the opportunities afforded by the entertainment media industry to boost the socio-economic development of the continent, a problem that received the attention of the Chinese government.

But President of China, Xi Jinping, has continued to express the commitment of his government to boosting the quality of life in Africa. He assured that China would implement access to satellite TV for ten thousand villages across Africa, as one of the major cooperation programs to boost cooperation between China and Africa.

Apart from establishing enviable diplomatic ties between China and the countries of Africa, the programme is already boosting the economy of the beneficiary communities while paving way for dissemination of information in a manner that will create socioeconomic development in Africa.

At the launch of Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages of Nigeria, the CEO, Startimes Nigeria, Mr. Justin Zhang, had said the project was possible as a result of the concern and promise made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, that China would implement access to satellite TV for ten thousand villages across Africa, as one of the major cooperation programs to boost cooperation between China and Africa, adding that out of the 10,000 Villages, Nigeria alone will get 1,000 and Startimes is playing a major role as the facilitator of the project across various African countries that will benefit.

Zhang had said: “Startimes has installed two solar power projector TVs for the community, one 32 inches digital TV set with solar system, twenty Satellite dish and decoders where they can watch more than 100 international and local channels,” adding that the two solar-powered projector TVs and 32’ digital TV are for public use and free of charge.

He explained that the project also led to creation of jobs for African countries, stating that “Nigerians from various villages have been trained on how to recharge, operate and provide the required maintenance support for all the products installed.”

Discussing one of the viable economic opportunities that the project would create for Nigerians and Africans in general, the Startimes CEO explained that Startimes will ensure that people of Africa will become dealers of the products as time goes on, adding that StarTimes is encouraged to work together successfully with both the Chinese and Nigerian government, and to put long lasting smiles on the faces the children and adults that would benefit from the exposure they get from the access to satellite TV.

While saying that Startimes has been making families happy since the company came into the Pay TV market in 2010, he assured that it will continue to provide every Africa family affordable and enjoyable digital TV service, adding that Nigeria currently has over four million subscribers nationwide and more than 10 million users of our StarTimes ON mobile APP, StarTimes can be watched in every Nigerian city including the North East.

In a related development, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, expressed China’s willingness to continue to bring projects that will better the lot of Nigerians and Africans at large, assuring that that the friendship between China and Nigeria will be preserved via infrastructural projects that will uplift the people of the local communities who need it the most.

He recalled that on December 4th 2015, President of China, Xi Jinping announced at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation that China would implement satellite TV programs for 10 thousand African villages. The project, known as “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages”, is part of China-Africa cooperation programs and is aimed at enabling African families in rural areas to have access to the digital signal with high-quality images and rich TV programs.

It is pertinent to note that the project has gained wide acceptance by the people of Africa. A survey conducted recently among communities benefitting from the project shows the willingness of the rural dwellers to continue to enjoy the advantages of the project.

The District Head, Hulumi Community, Mr Dimas Daniel commended the project and discussed the beneficial impacts to his community saying: “The project being executed by Startimes has positively changed our community, because it has been able to connect Hulumi community to the global society,” adding that it exposes the people of Hulumi community to foreign cultures, songs and engagements.

The District Head of Hulumi further explained that interesting episodes in the Channels of Startimes helps people to learn the English language and other interesting aspects of life that were not known to Hulumi community.

Discussing the challenge experienced by the community, the District Head said: “We are happy for the project, but the problem we sometimes have is the inability to reset the dish when it shifts position, because we don’t have the technical expertise to do so.

The CEO of Startimes Nigeria, had assured that as a way of crating job opportunities for the communities, Startimes would train indigenous personnel who will be able to fix such problems as well as become dealers on equipment used in maintenance of the installed projects.

In a related development, residents of benefiting communities buttressed the position of the District Head as they agree on the benefits of the project.

A resident of Hulumi community who witnessed the launching of the project in 2017, Mr Bako Auta discussed his experience saying: “I remember how happy we were that evening in 2017 when Startimes distributed the decoders and TV sets and other equipment to us in the village. I also remember that so many people had to use generators to view the programa because it was so interesting and we have continued to benefit from it.

While saying that “everybody in Hulumi Community has continued to benefit from the project, because Startimes dishes are mounted for all and the programs shown by the Startimes channels are very interesting,” adding that since the commencement of the project in 2017, Hulumi village has been happy to be included in the project.

Discussing the social significance of the Starimes Project, Mr Auta said: “My most favorite channels are the foreign shows featured by Startimes, I prefer them because it makes me know what life is like on the side of the world,” stating that before the project, there was no way the person of Hulumi Community could connect with the foreign scene.

“I have seen so many things happening in the international scene across the sports sector, mechanised agriculture and cultivation of land in some countries that have the technical ability to engage in it, love movies and diplomatic relationship between countries and news among other things.”

“I learnt a lot from the channels and I sometimes practice what I leant through the Statimes TV Programs,” he said, adding that as Class Teacher responsible for pupils, he found it important to share the knowledge with the pupils.

A resident of Kpadama village also said: “Since the project was commissioned in 2017, we had opportunity to watch so many happenings that we were not aware of.”