Ethiopia, China sign railway construction deal

Ethiopia and China signed agreement for construction of the first phase of Ethiopia-Djibouti railway project. General Manager of Ethiopian Railway Corporation and Vice President of China Railway Group (CREC) signed the agreement.

The first phase of Ethiopia-Djibouti railway project covers 317-kilometers of the 665-kilometers long Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line stretching from Addis Ababa to Mieso.

CREC, the world’s major railway contractor is expected to complete the construction within three and half years.

After the signing ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn told ERTA that railway construction is among top priorities of the Ethiopian government.

The project took 8 months of feasibility study by a joint cooperation of Ethiopian, Russian and Chinese experts.

The total cost of about 1,193,000,000 USD would be covered by long term loan from the Chinese government and an internal budget of the Ethiopian Government.

According to the five-year national Growth and Transformation Plan unveiled a year ago, Ethiopia envisages constructing 2,395 kilometres of railway line, of which 1,807 kilometres is expected to be completed by the end of the plan period.

Regarding speculations by certain critics that things may not go as per schedule, Hailemariam, who is also board chairman of the Ethiopian Railway Corporation, said they are baseless.

The new railway network is planned to have at least 8 main routes that extend to all points of the compass. It would link no less than 49 urban centres by 2015 where railway stations are to be established.


Solomon Mengist, AfricaNews reporter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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