On Saturday the long awaited Ethiopia-Djibouti railway project was completed.
The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway project is a 656km electric railway, which offers freight and passenger transportation between both countries.
The freight trains which were imported from China go at a speed of 90 kilometers per hour while passenger trains with over 1100 capacity can go a distance of 120 km/hr.
This follows the trail of a light railway project that was launched in Ethiopia in 2015, making it the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to boast of a light railway system.
The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway is part of the east to west African railway network. It runs a double-track from Addis Ababa to Adama city (115 km) and single-track from Adama to Djibouti.
“It is part of the trans-Africa railway network and it will open opportunity of linking Ethiopia with neighboring countries” project manager, Mokenen Getachew told reporters
The project, which allegedly cost $ 3.4 billion, was built by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC).
70 % of the cost was paid for by the Exim Bank of China, the China Development Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China while 30% was covered by the Ethiopian government.
Having cut ties with Eritrea following the end of the Ethiopia-Eritrea border war in 2000, Ethiopia has been more dependent on Djibouti’s sea port for foreign trade.
The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway is of immense benefit to Ethiopia, as it reduces travel time and will also aid Ethiopia’s socio-economic development. Traveling from Djibouti to Addis Ababa previously required 3-7 days, but this has been reduced to 10-12 hours.
Mokenen added that Ethiopia will also be connected with Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan by railway eventually.