WHEN Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in 2015 that his country will roll out 10 major plans to boost cooperation with Africa in the coming three years, the pledge was so remote.
During the opening ceremony of the second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa, Xi said the China-Africa relationship to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership programmes are aimed at carrying out the upgrade.
Three years down the line, President Edgar Lungu unveiled, to the excited Mbozi Primary School pupils in Vubwi district, Eastern Province the village satellite television project.
The project is part of the implementation of the 10,000 African satellite television project announced by President Xi.
The village satellite television project is one of the significant symbols of friendship between the People’s Republic of China and Zambia, in particular, and Africa, in general.
Of the 10,000 village satellite television sets to be installed across Africa, Zambia has received 500 to be erected in selected villages, schools and other community centres throughout.
The project, being implemented by TopStar Television, focusing on rural areas, is a shared vision of President Xi and President Lungu.
The transformation of the Mbozi community was evident as the pupils boasted they are no longer mbulis, meaning they are now equal to their counterparts in town as they are now able to watch what urban dwellers see.
The children in Mbozi are also watching the 2018 World Cup in Russia and will also start enjoying the FAZ/ MTN Super Division as well as the major leagues in the world.
TopStar will also provide decoders to 20 families with television sets as part of the package.
Access to television will also enhance the children’s learning standards due to watching various channels, especially those tilted towards education.
President Lungu was particularly happy that the project will enhance the rural communities’ access to information as they will be able to know what is happening around the country and internationally.
Rural farmers will be able to monitor weather patterns as well as market prices for agricultural products. Members of Parliament from rural areas will have to raise their game as their voters will be watching them live.
Access to information will also help rural people in decision-making.
The equipment being used in the village satellite television sets is ideal for replication by rural Members of Parliament (MPs) with a heart for their people.
It just has a projector, decoder, solar panel and a solar battery.
MPs, in conjunction with school, religious and traditional authorities, will be able to choose centrally located schools and villages where people can be meeting to watch television.
The village satellite television project is part of the big package covering the areas of industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security China is offering Africa.
“China-Africa relations have today reached a stage of growth unmatched in history,” Xi said. “Let’s join hands… and open a new era of China-Africa win-win cooperation and common development.”
The village satellite television project will help Zambia’s development bottlenecks of backward infrastructure.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail editorials editor.