US$4b newly constructed Djibouti-Ethiopia railway set for testing

US$4b newly constructed Djibouti-Ethiopia railway set for testing

A new railway line-Djibouti-Ethiopia- that links  the capital Addis Ababa and Djibouti is now ready for testing, officials have said.

The US$4b Djibouti-Ethiopia railway line, funded primarily by China is meant to boost transport in the region and by and large the economy.

Officials with Ethiopian Railway Corporation say trial service will run for three to six months on the line, beginning the first week in October.

The electric rail system will cut travel time between Ethiopia’s landlocked capital and the Port of Doraleh, on the Gulf of Aden, from two days to less than 10 hours. It is part of an ambitious Ethiopian initiative to build 5,000 kilometers of rail to connect its fast-growing cities and their markets.

That $3 billion vision would make Ethiopia the first sub-Saharan country outside of South Africa to develop a comparable national rail network.

China’s funding of 70 percent of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti line reflects its continued investment and strategic interest in the Horn of Africa.

The railway is built by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC), and replaces a nearly 100-year-old diesel line with the efficient, environmentally friendly new trains.

The move to boost railway transport in Ethiopia is meant to keep the economy expanding at the rate of 8 percent. Ethiopia seeks to become an African manufacturing centre, offering investors efficient transport, cheap power and efficient labour.

Ethiopia like any other African country is struggling to boost its transport system at the time when it is trying to industrialize.

Kenya is putting up a multi-billion shillings standard gauge railway connecting Mombasa and Nairobi.The railway system is meant to boost the economy of the country once complete.

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