BUJUMBURA, June 27 (Reuters) - China is financing a $40 million project to help Burundi switch to digital broadcasting from analogue by June 2015, according to the small east African nation’s telecom regulator.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has set June 2015 as the deadline for the migration to switch off analogue broadcasts in several regions of the world, including Africa.
China has funded roads and other infrastructure projects in Burundi, a poor landlocked country that relies heavily on tea and coffee exports.
Deogratias Bizindavyi, in charge of digital process and frequency spectrum at Burundian telecom regulator ARCT, said on Thursday that China’s Star Times would install the network, including equipping radio and television with digital equipment.
Some of the $40 million will be in the form of a grant from the Chinese government to Burundi, and another part would be a loan provided by Export-Import Bank of China to Star Times and Burundi state TV (RNTB) as a joint venture, he told Reuters.
Star Times has other digital TV operations in Africa.
China is also building a new presidential palace in Burundi, which is facing its worst political crisis - a dispute about whether the president can run for a third term - since a 12-year civil war ended in 2005.
Reporting by Patrick Nduwimana; Editing by Edmund Blair/Mark Heinrich