File photo taken on Nov. 30, 2016 shows a local house with a satellite digital television device provided by Chinese media company StarTimes in Kenya. The company launched a satellite digital television project in Kenya to bridge rural-urban information gap in the East African nation. (Xinhua/Li Baishun)
LUSAKA, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Zambia has launched a Chinese-funded digital television project that will see 500 villages in the southern African nation access satellite television services.
The project, part of the Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages, is undertaken by StarTimes Group, and will be completed in the country by the end of 2018.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu and officials from the Chinese embassy graced the occasion, which was held on Monday in eastern Zambia's Vubwi district.
"Today's launch of satellite TV project is a milestone of cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Zambia, and symbolizes one more achievement of the Ten Cooperation Plans pledged in 2015 FOCAC summit," Ouyang Daobing, Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy, said during the launch.
Zambia, he said, was among the first batch of African countries to implement the project, adding the project will open a window for Zambians to see and understand the outside world, and promote local economic and social development.
According to him, the relationship between the two countries, which spans many years, has blossomed over the years and has entered into a new stage of rapid and comprehensive development.
On his part, the Zambian leader said the project was a significant symbol of the friendship between the people of the two countries.
"Without access to adequate information, various stakeholders will not have information on government policies and programs. This will hinder them from making informed decisions," he said.
The government, he said, embarked on a transformation agenda of ensuring that information was easily accessible to every part of the country and that the project will go a long way in helping achieve the agenda.
Leo Liao, CEO of TopStar Zambia Communication Company, a joint venture between Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and Chinese digital television service provider StarTimes, said the benefits of digital TV should be felt by all citizens and the Chinese government through the China Aid is making sure that even the most rural communities can access information through TV.