African Countries Must Achieve Digital TV Migration By June 2020

Beijing — Fourth China-Africa Media Cooperation and Eighth African Digital Television Development Fora have resolved that all African countries should migrate from analogue to digital television before the June 17, 2020 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) deadline.

The first deadline was in 2015 and was missed by most African countries.

African Ministers of Information and Communication that attended the two fora in Beijing, China from June 25 to 28, 2018 made the resolution in a communiqué and agreed that they and those that failed to attend should meet in South Africa before the September 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to facilitate a common position for African leaders to take digitalization agenda to the coming African Union meeting.

"Based on the findings that majority of African countries have not met the deadline that was agreed to switch from analogue to digital television due to various challenges, all African ministers that attended both seminars agreed that all communication ministers must identify relevant ministerial sectors to facilitate for African countries to meet the above mentioned deadline because digitalization is a global concern," the communiqué which was read out to the delegates by Lesotho Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, Thasele Maseribane said.

They agreed that digitalization and media issues should be a focal point during the coming FOCAC meeting.

"The upcoming FOCAC in South Africa must include how best the China-Africa cooperation can assist Africa in infrastructure, policy framework, skills transfer and capacity building for Africa to meet the next switching point which is June 17 2020," the communiqué stated.

In an interview, Deputy Director of Information Deogratias Mmana, who represented Malawi's Minister of Information and Communications Technology, said Malawi would have achieved total digital migration before the deadline.

Kenya already migrated while Zambia has achieved 80 per cent migration and Lesotho says will have covered the remaining 13 per cent with the help of Star Times of China by 2020.

China's Minister of National Radio and Television Administration who is also Deputy Head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China, Nie Chenxi said China pledged China's commitment to help African countries migrate to digital platform.

"In the face of the challenges and opportunities for media transformation and upgrading, the demand for in-depth cooperation is even more pressing and the prospects are much broader. We will continue to spare no effort to support media digitalization and reconstruction in African countries and actively implementing varying projects so as to see for instance digital TV services provided to 10,000 villages in Africa," he explained.

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