President Arthur Peter Mutharika has commissioned a project dubbed Access to Satellite TV for 500 Malawian Villages which will see some households in rural areas being connected to satellite television and says he wants rural communities to join urban counterparts in digital migration to enjoy access to information.
President Mutharika (right) at the launch of Access to Satellite Television for 500 Malawian villages sponsored by the Chinese government
The project being financed by the Peoples Republic of China is targeting 500 villages across the country and 20 households in each beneficiary village are going to be given satellite television sets where they will be accessing up to 21 local and international channels for free.
Speaking on Tuesday during the launch of the project at Mponela 2 Primary School ground in Dowa, Mutharika said the coming in of the project is a result of cordial bilateral relations between the Governments of Malawi and China.
He said the project will ensure that people in rural areas are being entertained and informed just like their counterparts in towns.
“Our goal is to make sure that people in rural areas are having access to satellite television programs for their learning, exposure and decision making.
“When people have information, they make informed decisions and participate meaningfully in national development,” the President said.
In his remarks, the Peoples Republic of China Ambassador to Malawi, Liu Hongyang said the project was hatched at the Forum on Africa —China Cooperation (FOCAC), where President of the Peoples Republic of China, declared that China will provide satellite TV reception to 10,000 African villages during a 2015 summit held in Johannesburg.
“After the consultations between relevant authorities of China and Malawi, 500 Malawian villages were identified to benefit from the project. As the main platform and mechanism of China —Africa cooperation, FOCAC has made great achievements in promoting our bilateral relations and cooperation since its establishment,” he said.
The Ambassador added that China-Malawi relations have entered a new era of rapid and comprehensive development and the two governments will continue to broaden and enrich the cooperation by creating favorable conditions for cooperation in production capacity, human resources development, infrastructure, agriculture and others.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Nicholas Dausi said politics means bringing happiness to the people and what the DPP government is doing is bringing happiness in peoples homes.
“All the 193 constituencies in the country are benefiting from this project and this means a great number of people will have entertainment in their homes. This also means improved access to information as the people will view different channels from all over the world,” said Dausi.
Speaking earlier before the launch the Dowa District Commissioner (DC), Alexander Mdooko said satellite television will help people access information on different issues like health, education and current affairs.
StarTimes Group which is contractedl to implement the project in the country has registered subsidiaries in 30 countries, and is operating in 19 countries with more than 20 million users.