Mr Shi Ting Wang, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana on Friday handed over 300 satellite television sets to government to be distributed to selected public area and households in the rural areas.
The presentation was in line with a project christened “300 village satellite TV project”, launched by the Ministry of Communications, in collaboration with StarTimes, a Chinese Multimedia company in September, 2018.
The project is aimed at bridging the digital divide and ensuring that all citizens especially the rural communities enjoy the full benefits of digitalization.
Mr George Andah, the Deputy Minister of Communication receiving the equipment in Accra said the ceremony signified the strengthening of the ties between Ghana and the People’s Republic of China.
Giving background about the project, Mr Andah said in 2015, China and 50 African countries and the African Union Commission convened in Johannesburg, South Africa for a Summit on China-Africa Cooperation to consolidate solidarity and cooperation among China and Africa.
At the Summit, the Chinese government indicated its willingness to implement 10 major China-Africa cooperation plans within 50 African countries, one of the plans was the provision of a grant for access to satellite TV for 10,000 African communities of which Ghana was a beneficiary.
The Deputy Minister said as part of the grant, 900 chosen public areas in the 300 communities have benefited from two sets of solar powered projection TV systems and one set of solar 32-inch digital TV.
Mr Andah stated that 660 Ghanaians have acquired technical training on how to install satellite dishes, while 400 Ambassadors have been locally selected and trained by Startimes to operate and maintain the equipment in these communities to ensure sustainability of the project.
However, 20 sets of satellite TV set-top boxes have been installed in 6000 houses in 300 communities to enable them have access to both local and international channels.
Mr Andah explained that timely access to information was necessary in the development of every facet of the society, adding that access to satellite TV was considered one of the most effective and efficient means of disseminating information, irrespective of the geographical locations of people.
He said the Ministry was implementing the Digital Ghana Age and ensuring that all the citizenry was part of the development journey of the country through access to information and participation in nation building.
Mr Andah said the Ministry would continue to explore creative and affordable means of making content accessible through technology and television, calling on all leaders of the beneficiary communities to ensure that equipment installed were placed under proper care.
The Chinese Ambassador said the project had so far provide more than 600 jobs to Ghanaians across the country and that China was committed to cooperating with Africa, including Ghana in a broader area of green development, poverty alleviation and cultural exchanges.
He said the 21st century was an era of ICT and that people all over the world have the right to enjoy the convenience brought about by the high rate of development of information technology, but due to limited degree of economic development, some still cannot catch up with the digital divide.
Mr Xue Jin, the Chief Executive Officer, Startimes said the project offered opportunity for China and Ghana to deepen its relationship and ensure that the African continent and the media development transitioned to the next level.
He explained that apart from the satellite TV provided to the communities, public areas in the community were given a bouquet of 20 channels for free and 20 households a 6-month offer to enjoy over 30 channels for free.