His small home in Limuru village has no running water and its walls are made of corrugated metal. Yet outside, where the chickens roam the yard, the father-of-two, who repairs the shoes for a living, has a large Chinese-built satellite dish that connects his old television set to hundreds of channels – many of which are beamed from Beijing .
"It's good to have a lot of TV channels," said Nganga, who was limited to a few local Kenyan stations before the Chinese dish. "Because you can know how the world is changing every day."
In 2015, Xi announced the 10,000 Villages Project, and plans to take digital television to the underprivileged parts of Africa, such as the village where Nganga lives. Previously, television access in many parts of the continent was a privilege of the elite, and those who were connected relied on the old-fashioned, snowy analog reception.
Xi's dream was to upgrade the vast swathes of Africa to modern, digital satellite TV networks, which could broadcast a constellation of channels over long distances ̵
This was more than just a philanthropic gesture.
It was a stroke of soft-power genius that would raise China's profile among Africans, while giving Beijing a tighter grip on the continent's communications infrastructure and control over how it is portrayed there in the media.
StarTimes has been the Chinese government's primary contractor to carry out the 10,000 Villages Project, paving the way for the Beijing-based
And it would boost the fortunes and power of one important Chinese company that otherwise holds a low profile. firm – not any of its American or European media competitors – to dominate the African market of 1.2 billion people. A spokesperson for StarTimes said it was "important" for Beijing to work with "an experienced and cost-conscious enterprise for the assignment."
While channels like the BBC reach more people and South African distributor MultiChoice has more subscribers, StarTimes' breadth of reach has some critics worrying: Does the company, with its close ties to Beijing, now have too much power over African television networks
The African opportunity
Aid dollars served to ease Western guilt over what then British Prime Minister Tony Blair called a "scar on the conscience of the world," but aside from drilling for oil and setting military bases, little energy went into doing real business in Africa .
Meanwhile, China took a completely different approach