Her Excellence Sun BaoHong, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya,
Mr. Jerome Ochieng, Principle Secretary, Ministry of ICT,
Mr. David Zhang, CEO StarTimes Limited,
Senior Government officials from the Government of China,
Dr. Katherine Getao, EBS, ICT Secretary,
Senior Government officials from Kenya,
Senior Officials from Startimes Limited,
Ladies and gentlemen,
All protocols observed,
I am honored to preside over the launch of the 800 Digital Television Villages Project in Kenya. I wish to applaud the Government of Peoples Republic of China for this great initiative of providing satellite TV reception to 10,000 African villages. Under this initiative the Government of Kenya and the Republic of China agreed to implement the project in 800 villages in Kenya to not only promote access to digital television across the country but also enhance people to people cultural exchange.
The launch of this project, demonstrates the increased mutual cooperation between the two Countries aimed at promoting the socio-economic and political prosperity of our two economies.
Ladies & Gentlemen, When our Country Promulgated the 2010 Constitution, Article 33 provides that every person has the right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom to seek, receive or impart information or ideas; freedom of artistic creativity; and academic freedom and freedom of scientific research; Article 34 guarantees the independence of electronic, print and all other types of media; while Article 35 gives every citizen the right of access to information held by the State or other persons and required for the exercise or protection of any right or fundamental freedom; the promotion of access to information through television services through this project actualize these rights especially for the rural communities.
Ladies & Gentlemen, the Government successfully migrated 100% of all the areas previously covered with analogue TV to digital TV broadcasting by June 2015. This led to an increase in the number of TV channels, freedom of choice among TV viewers and provided more employment opportunities to our youths.
Further, the Government has embarked on extending the coverage of digital TV broadcasting to other parts of the country which previously did not have TV broadcasting. In this regard, the Ministry has rolled out digital signal in potential sites in 10 counties through installation of digital transmitters. The project we are launching today will complement these efforts by the Government by ensuring Kenya attains 100% access to digital television services by December 2018.
Ladies and gentlemen, the post digital migration- broadcasting space is characterized by increased competition and innovation; through the signal carriers, media outlets and ownership has drastically grown and as a result, expanded content genres covered by the different channels. Indeed, the digital platform has seen the number of television broadcasters increase from the previous ten broadcasters to the current over sixty-five. Additionally, diverse markets have necessitated emergence of more outlets operating in languages other than English. This has revolutionized the industry providing innovative, exciting and consumer-led programme.
I am happy to note that this project will provide Two sets of solar power projector TV Systems and one set 32-inch digital TV set, satellite dishes and accessories to 3 public facilities e.g. School, Youth Centre or other prominent public areas in each village; and Twenty Sets of Satellite TV Terminals including STBs, Satellite dishes and accessories to Twenty Households who have functional TV Sets. Ladies and gentlemen, this will lead to 2400 public facilities installed with Satellite TV, 16000 Households provided with satellite TV receiving terminals and 800 maintenance technicians recruited and trained.
Ladies and gentlemen, the targeted villages have been selected based on developed criteria to ensure fairness and regional balance. Towards this end, two villages in every sub-county will benefit from this project.
The project will be implemented in two phases, the first phase to be completed in August 2018 will target three hundred villages while phase two which targets five hundred villages, will be completed by October, 2018.
While Kenya’s ICT sector is among the most vibrant in Africa, driven by innovative products and affordability of hardware with more consumers going online for their entertainment and information needs, traditional television and radio continue to be a preferred source of reliable information by audiences in Kenya. About 7.3 million viewers tune into their television sets daily with an additional 14.5 million listeners tuning into their favorite radio stations every day. This accounts for 80% audience reach in the country.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Government of China and the Government of Kenya have put in place elaborate structures to ensure that the project is implemented as envisaged, on our part as Government of Kenya we are fully committed to the development and application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for national development;
The Government has recognized that ICT has the potential to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Government operations and to enhance public service delivery in line with the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya 2010;
I am pleased to note that Startimes Communication Network Technology Co. Ltd., a leading international digital TV network, communications and electronics company that is at the forefront of providing cost-effective digital TV to African viewers, was appointed as the implementing partner by the His the President of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping’s, to install digital satellite television in 10,000 African villages.
Ladies and Gentlemen, So far, Key milestones have been realized including; establishment and operationalization of project implementation committee, development of project plan documents, village investigation for phase one, equipment branding, issuance of duty exemption for equipment, signing of agreement between Ministry of ICT and Startimes Ltd, identification of maintenance personnel among others. Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow to express my gratitude to the Project Implementation Committee members lead by the ICT Secretary Dr. Katherine Getao , EBS and CEO Startimes Mr. David Zhang, who are charged with overseeing day today project activities.
In conclusion, I wish to urge all parties to effectively play their role in ensuring successful implementation of the project. It is my great privilege and pleasure to declare the 800 Village digital TV project officially launched.