By Emeka Aginam
Over one hundred broadcasting experts and ICT leaders across Africa including Nigeria with the representation of the regulatory authority, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, are currently in Johannesburg, South Africa, deliberating on the progress made in the switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting in Africa.
Organized by the London-based Commonwealth Telecommunication’s Organisation (CTO), the conference seeks to address many issues including policy and regulation, the adoption of the new European standard BVB-T2, funding mechanisms, technology, international frequency planning, the Digital Dividend, among others.
Roy Padayachie, Minister of Communications, South Africa, is expected to deliver the keynote address and officially open the conference, with speaker representations from the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), Lesotho Communication Authority, Department of Communications, South Africa, The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), The Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation and Botswana Telecommunications Authority, who will also be sharing their experiences at the conference.
Speaking on the challenges of digital switchover strategy in Africa, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, CEO of CTO said, “The migration from analogue to digital technologies can be a challenging one for a continent as large as Africa.
However, shared best practices from ‘digital-ready’ countries can help alleviate some of the challenges faced during the migration. While these are challenges that is not new to any country that has gone through a digital switchover, in Africa it also addresses its socio-economic developmental needs, thereby bringing it closer to the Millennium Development Goals. It also creates new opportunities, that of deploying advanced technologies and building electronic manufacturing hubs to meet the upcoming demands of needs such as a set-box.”
Emphasizing on the need for such forums, Dr. Mashilo Boloka, Director of Broadcasting Policy, Department of Communications, Republic of South Africa said, “As an annual event, CTO’s Digital Broadcasting Switchover Forum has over the years provided a strategic platform for sharing of information and new learnings on the implementation of digital broadcasting migration on the continent. The forum’s ability to attract speakers beyond the African continent ensures that information shared is relevant for countries at the various phases of migration.”
Country reports on the migration from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and Israel are to be presented at the conference.