First electric railway in Africa launched

11 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 km it is the first electric railway in Africa.

The railway is expected to open more routes and provide landlocked Ethiopia with a faster access to the port, and encourage industrialisation along its route.

It has been constructed by the China Railway Group and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

The project itself is worth some US$4-billion, 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. “This new railway, the first one in Africa, will operate 100% by electricity and will now connect Djibouti and east Africa.”

Djibouti’s President, Ismail Omar, said: “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.”

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