Ethiopia launches Africa’s 1st electric rail

by Selam

Ethiopia will on Wednesday launch Africa’s first modern electrified railway line. Built by China, the rail line links the Ethiopian capital , Addis Ababa with  the port of Djibouti. The full length of the railway is 752.7 kilometers, with a designed speed of 120 km per hour. With a total investment of 4 billion U.S. dollars, it is was built by  China Railway Group and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

“The railway is constructed on the basis of Chinese railway technology standards while taking into account the national conditions of Ethiopia and Djibouti,” said Zeng Deli, a project manager of the China Railway Group, to Xinhua. It was designed and constructed in a most economical way, taking only six years for its final completion, which should be viewed as some kind of miracle even in China, Zeng said.


The modern standard-gauge Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway runs parallel to a decrepit meter-gauge version built over 100 years ago by Europeans. Over 90 percent of Ethiopia’s imports and exports, in particular energy and food, are made via the sea port of Djibouti. The capacity of the current road system has long been overwhelmed.

When the new railway becomes operational, transport time from Djibouti to the Ethiopian capital will be reduced from 7 days to ten hours. Besides faster transport, the Chinese firms have an even greater ambition. That is, the railway will serve as a catalyst for Ethiopia’s national economic development.

The Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway is only one of many major projects currently under way in the framework of China-Africa cooperation. For the Chinese contractors, the construction of a railway with a designed speed of 120 km per hour is not difficult. But it takes nothing short of a great feat to complete it with no

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