First electric railway in Africa launched

6 October 2016

The First Chinese-built railway line linking the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the port of Djibouti has been formally inaugurated. Covering a total of 752-kilometer it is the first electric railway in Africa. The railway which is expected to open more routes and also provide landlocked Ethiopia with a faster access to the port, and encourage industrialization along its route. The first electric railway in Africa was commissioned after the Ethiopian military band set up the mood to usher in a fully-electric rail line in Africa. It has been constructed by the China Railway Group and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation. The project itself is worth some 4-billion US dollars, much of which has been financed through China’s policy banks. 

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailmariam Desalegn says the new rail link is a major step forward in helping grow his landlocked country’s economy. “The plan we have through infrastructure building is to bring economic development into the country. Through it we are making a structural transformation of our countries’ infrastructure and thus cutting down poverty. Before creating modern transport system it was impossible to achieve fast economic development industry and it was difficult to be competitive. This new railway will operate 100 per cent by electricity and it is the first one in Africa which will now connect Djibouti and east Africa.”

Djibouti’s President, Ismail Omar, says the new rail line is also going to bring tangible benefits to his small nation. “The trip took six days by rail from the port of Djibouti to Addis Ababa, with this new electric rail it will take seven hours to transport goods and people between our two capitals. Our two people have once again joined forces to rebuild this new railway and make it the new face of our prosperous relationship.” Construction industry in Ethiopia is booming with plans underway to construct  a service centre christened AU Integrated Services Center, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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