China plans to give digital satellite TV services to over 10,000 African villages, including Olasiti in Kenya, allowing many Africans, mainly rural areas, to extend their perspectives and narrow the digital divide.
According to StarTimes, a Chinese subscription television service provider that was contracted to implement the project across Africa, the “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages” (or “Wan Cun Tong” in Chinese) project has been completed in 20 recipient countries in Africa as of August 2021, benefiting more than 6.5 million people in 8,612 villages.
According to observers, Wan Cun Tong, similar to China’s many other aid projects in Africa, helps develop Africa’s lesser-developed regions, connecting local people to the rest of the world.
The project is a constructive, win-win cooperation between China and African countries, rather than a “content output” or an “information invasion,” as some conspiracy theorists in the West may have suggested, according to Liu Haifang, director of Peking University’s Center for African Studies.
The Wan Cun Tong project, one of the resolutions adopted at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation’s Johannesburg Summit in 2015, intends to give digital TV access to 10,112 villages in 23 Sub-Saharan African countries.
According to StarTimes, each selected village will receive two sets of solar-powered projector TV systems and one solar digital TV integrated terminal system in a public area as part of the project. In addition, the company will provide free satellite dishes and decoders to 20 recipient families in each village.
According to Wang Fan, the CEO of the StarTimes branch in Uganda, the initiative has also trained over 2,000 qualified local technicians to install and maintain digital television equipment, allowing people to enhance their living conditions and financial security with reasonable earnings.