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Ethiopia launches new railway to Djibouti

A 750-km railway line linking Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa and Red Sea state of Djibouti was formally inaugurated on Wednesday.

The Chinese built project is to create new manufacturing industries, improve transport and further open up landlocked Ethiopia.

The new railway line is expected to cut the journey time to under 10 hours. Ethiopia is seeking to have 5,000 km of new lines working across the country by 2020.

The electrified and environmentally friendly project will also replace a diesel-powered Addis Ababa-Djibouti line.

“It is a part of trans-African railway network so it will give an opportunity for connecting Ethiopia with another neighbouring countries and it will minimize the cost of the transport and transport time and it is free from pollution, it uses renewable energy and so on,“said Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) communications manager, Dereje Tefera.

The ERC official said the close to 4 billion US dollar project was 70 percent financed by Chinese EXIM Bank with the remaining 30 percent financed by the Ethiopian government.

The construction was handled in two parts by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC).

“We are training civil railway, mechanical railway and electrical railway engineers in Russia, China and Addis Ababa universities, who will soon start working along with the Chinese and obtain valuable experience so that we can build enough capacity to be self-sustainable,“said ERC project manager, Engineer Mekonnen Getachew.

Ethiopia will on Wednesday launch Africa’s first modern electrified railway line. Built by China, the rail line… https://t.co/p7A4yIaUfV

— NationalParrot.com (@NationalParrot) October 4, 2016

In a bid to keep the economy expanding at the 8 percent or more the nation of 96 million people wants to become an African manufacturing hub, offering investors efficient transport, labour and cheap power.