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Africa banks on Chinese-backed digital migration strategy

Africa banks on Chinese-backed digital migration strategy

With financial help from China, African ICT ministers from 45 countries, among them Zambia, Kenya and Burkina Faso, have resolved to migrate to digital broadcasting before the 17 June 2020 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) deadline.

Many African countries cited limited financial resources for their failure to meet the ITU's original migration deadline of 17 June 2015.

This is according to Lesotho's minister of Communication, Science and Technology Thasele Maseribane who recently addressed the closing of the 4th China-Africa Media Cooperation and 8th Africa Digital Television Development Fora in Beijing, China.

She said, "Based on the findings that the majority of African countries did not meet the deadline agreed to switch to digital television due to various challenges, all African ministers that attended the seminars agreed to identify relevant ministerial sectors to facilitate for African countries to meet the migration deadline as digitalisation was a global concern."

Maseribane added that Kenya has already migrated, while Zambia has, to date, achieved 80% migration, and Lesotho has committed to cover the remaining 13% with the help of StarTimes of China.

Ministers agreed to meet in South Africa before the September 2018 Forum on China-Africa to agree on a common stance regarding digitalisation ahead of the upcoming African Union (AU) meeting.

China's minister of National Radio and Television Administration Nie Chenxi said the country is committed to helping African countries migrate.

The Far East country is linked to several ongoing projects, including a US$10 billion initiative to connect 10, 000 villages in Africa to digital television by 2020.

According to Dora Siliya, Zambia's Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, the Forum on China-Africa is an important platform to facilitate technology transfer from China to Zambia and Africa as a whole.

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