China-aided Satellite TV Project Connects Rural Uganda

China on Saturday officially completed the installation of the satellite television project in 900 Ugandan villages that face connectivity challenges.

Chris Baryomunsi, Ugandan minister of Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance, officiated at the handover ceremony held in Katabi village in the central Ugandan district of Wakiso. He praised China for its technical support to Uganda, noting that the support will drive development in communities.

Aoge Mengdai, chief executive officer of StarTimes Uganda, the project contractor, said 900 villages have been connected to satellite television service since 2018 when the project was executed. And more than 100,000 people in 18,000 households, 2,700 schools and health centres have access to satellite television.

The “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages” project in Uganda is implemented by Chinese satellite television, StarTimes.

“The benefits are beyond simply accessing TV. These children can now access television learning and video demonstrations which are very useful in practical learning. They can also compare with other schools outside their community,” Mengdai said. He added that adults can now access key health and commercial information, as well as benchmark their dreams against other developing communities.

According to Roy Kyabangi, health facility administrator, the television set is important to both the health workers and patients in terms of accessing information, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Ebola outbreak that the country is facing. She said some of the patients come from islands where access to information is limited.

“As health workers, it has helped us because since most of the time we spend it here at the health centre, we need to get current affairs, what is happening in the world. So we can get that information from our television, StarTimes,” Kyabangi said. “We also get some medical updates, for example, now we have Ebola, if there are some medical people saying something about Ebola, we can get the information as health workers and also patients get current information about health services,” she added.

At the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in South Africa in 2015, the Chinese government pledged to provide satellite television for 10,000 African villages.