10 Things You Need To Know About The Ethiopia-Djibouti Electric Railway
The governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti opened a 752.7 kilometer electric railway, to serve the two horn of Africa neighbors. The railway will provide a faster transportation of goods and people between the two nations. It will also boost Ethiopia’s landlocked economy through the transport of cargo from the Port of Djibouti. The port handles about 90 percent of the imports into Ethiopia.
Below are 10 things you need to know about the railway.
Africa’s first cross-border electric railway
The railway is Africa’s first modern cross-border electric railway. It replaces a metre-gauge railway built by France in 1971 in Ethiopia.
China financed 70% of its construction
The Chinese government, through its China Exim Bank provided 70 percent of the financial support, while the Ethiopian government financed the remaining 30 percent. It cost a total of $3.4 billion to construct.
It cost $4.9 million kilometer
It cost $4.9 million per kilometer to construct the railway.
Two Chinese companies built the line
Two Chinese construction companies built the railway line. China Railway Group built the section between Addis Ababa, the capital and Mieso in Oromia state while China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) constructed the Mieso-Djibouti sector.
It will cut transport time from 78 hours to less than 10 hours
The new railway will reduce time taken to move between the two nations, from three days by road to about 12 hours. It has a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour.
Chinese experts will maintain the railway
Experts from China will maintain the railway line in the first five years of operation. Ethiopian workers will then take over. They are currently undergoing specialized training in China and Russia.
It will first carry cargo for three months
The railway will only transport freight in its first three months of testing. The freight trains can travel at a speed of 90 kilometers per hour. The passenger trains will travel at 120 kilometers per hour and will carry over 1,000 passengers at a go once they start operating.
The railway route passes through a violent region
The railway passes through Adama in Oromia state, which has been hard hit by the violent Oromia protests that have left over 500 people dead. The clashes broke out in November last year, as Oromos protested economic and political marginalization by the government.
It created 5,000 jobs during construction
The new line created at least 5,000 local jobs in the course of its construction. It is part of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), a government initiative to lift the nation into a middle-country status in the next ten years.
Second cross-border rail built by China in Africa
It is the second trans-national railway built by Chinese government in Africa. The first one was the Tazara railway, opened in 1975 to link the Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with Kapiri Moshi in Zambia.
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