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  • Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway officially completed

    The completion of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, a new 752km track linking Ethiopia’s capital with the Port of Djibouti (pictured), was officially marked today (Tuesday) at a ceremony at Nagad Railway Station in Djibouti.

    In the presence of Djibouti’s President, His Excellency Ismail Omar Guelleh, and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, and senior officials from across the region, the new railway – linking Djibouti to Ethiopia – was officially inaugurated.


    The new railway can reach speeds of 160 km/h for passenger trains and 120 km/h for cargo trains. It will cut cargo journey times between the Port of Djibouti and Addis Ababa from three days by road to just 12 hours. Trial services for the new $4.2 billion railway began in October 2016, with regular services transporting goods and passengers expected to begin early this year.

    The railway is a major milestone for trade in the region. Currently, more than 90% of Ethiopia’s trade passes through Djibouti, accounting for 70% of the overall activity at Djibouti’s ports. With Africa’s GDP predicted to double by 2035, and the population expected to reach 2.5 billion over the next 30 years, the continent is in need of major new infrastructure links.


    In addition to building links with Djibouti’s port facilities, the railway will support the development of Djibouti’s International Free Trade Zone (DIFTZ), which will help spur the nation’s manufacturing industry and provide employment opportunities for its citizens. The railway project has been coupled with a US$15 billion expansion programme to improve Djibouti’s port facilities, and build new highways and airports in the country.


    Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority (DPFZA), said: “This railway marks a new dawn for Africa’s integration into the global economy. From today, millions more Africans are now linked to Djibouti’s world-class port facilities. Connecting Africa, Asia and Europe, Djibouti is at the heart of the world’s trade routes, and we are proud to play a vital role in developing the region and wider continent.”


    The railway was previously inaugurated from Ethiopia’s side on 5th October 2016. With journeys now also possible from Djibouti, the new railway represents the next step in plans for a 2000km long track that will also connect Djibouti and Ethiopia to South Sudan. The vision is that this could one day evolve into a Trans-African railway crossing the continent from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, a journey which by sea currently takes eight weeks.


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  • Ethio-Djibouti railway sets new model for China-Africa cooperation

    Chinese conductor Ding Jihua (R) trains the Ethiopian attendants at a railway station in suburban Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Oct 1, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

    The railway, which links the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the port of Djibouti in Djibouti, will officially open service on Wednesday as Africa's first electric railway. It is constructed by China Railway Group and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, a subsidiary of CRCC.

    Meng told Xinhua in an interview Tuesday that the project has set two successful models: introducing Chinese standards overseas to facilitate export of Chinese equipment and management; building railways to boost development of industrial parks, logistic centers and real estates along the route.

    The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway is the first railway built using a complete set of Chinese standards outside China, which Meng said is key to its success.

    Thanks to China's outstanding performance in building and managing railways, Chinese railway standards eventually helped Chinese firms win over the project in Ethiopia, which, like many other countries, once viewed Western standards as the orthodox.

    "After rounds of negotiations, The Ethiopian government came to realize that the Chinese standards are no inferior to Western ones, and more importantly, they best suit the country," Meng said.

    The option for Chinese standards facilitated the use of Chinese equipment, trains and materials in the construction. Working together, the Chinese firms ensured the railway's completion in just four years, despite the conclusion of Western experts who evaluated the project that for Ethiopia to have an electric railway was a mission impossible.

    The railway's construction has also seen Chinese investments channeling into the industrial parks and other development projects along the line, which will help create jobs and boost industries for Ethiopia, Meng added.


    In-Picture: Ethiopia-Djibouti railway inauguration

    The 3.4 billion US dollars built railway is a historical project which will take the relationship between the three countries into a new era, said Prime Minister Hailemariam at the ingural ceremony held at Lebu Station.

    The railway line will greatly reduce the travel time between the two countries and will contribute to the development of Ethiopia’s hinterland.

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and Xu Shaoshi, Special Envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly inaugurated the Ethio-Djibouti railway today.

    This is an electrified system and environmentally friendly. This is what makes it different from other railway projects in Africa.

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  • Ethiopia's New $4 Billion Railway Project completed

    Construction of a Chinese-funded electric railway, linking Ethiopia’s capital along its main trading route to neighboring Djibouti, has been completed, providing the African nation with much-needed improved rail access to a seaport.

    The $4 billion project, implemented by China Railway Engineering Corp. and China Civil Engineering Construction Corp. will be commissioned next month.

    The government is pinning its hopes on the freight and passenger transportation project, which was started three years ago, to boost robust economic growth that has outstripped regional peers in recent years. The line should cut in half the travel time between Addis Ababa and Djibouti, said Ethiopia’s transport minister Workneh Gebeyehu.

    “With an efficient railway, our economy will perform even better,” Mr. Gebeyehu said. “This project allows us to compete effectively with the rest of the world.”

    The landlocked nation close to Africa’s Horn has closely followed China’s economic and political model, while maintaining strategic alliances with the West on security, particularly in Somalia where it is a major contributor of troops fighting al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab. And Chinese infrastructure investment has played an increasing role in Ethiopia and the broader East African region.

    The completion of the project comes months after Ethiopia unveiled a $425 million Chinese-built light railway in Addis Ababa, the first such electrified light transit system in sub-Saharan Africa.

    The Chinese-funded 1,870-megawatt Gibe III hydropower plant is expected to come on stream later this year and nearly double Ethiopia’s power-generating capacity, while in neighboring Kenya, a $3.8 billion China-led project to build a railway from the Port of Mombasa to Nairobi and on to other East African capitals is nearing completion, with commissioning expected before year-end.

    The 700-kilometer (435-mile) Addis Ababa-Djibouti line is double track for 71 miles from the Ethiopian capital to the central coffee-growing hub of Adama, and from there it runs as a single-track line to the port of Djibouti. Ethiopia is Africa’s largest coffee producer, and is projected to produce at least 6.52 million bags in the 2015-16 season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    The rail link is part of Ethiopia’s largely Chinese-funded $28 billion ambitious growth plan to revamp its infrastructure by 2020, an expansion that includes building 5,000 kilometers of railway lines. But with Beijing struggling with slowing growth, China’s “willingness to provide financial assistance to other developing economies may soon wane,” said Jacques Nel, an analyst with NKC Africa Economics.

    Poor infrastructure, from dilapidated roads to aging railway facilities, has for long been singled out as a major hindrance to Ethiopia’s economic growth. Last year, the country was forced to double wheat imports to ease shortages after the most severe El Niño-fueled drought in 50 years decimated crops. But grain deliveries were stuck for several months in Djibouti because of inadequate infrastructure, according to government officials.

    Rapid economic expansion hasn’t been without conflict. Plans to expand the capital into nearby tribal farmlands have triggered mass protests since last year, resulting in the deaths of as many as 500 people, according to rights groups.

    This was brought into focus recently when Ethiopian distance runner Feyisa Lilesa made a symbolic protest at the Olympic marathon in Brazil against his government’s crackdown on Oromos, the country’s largest tribe.

    Driven by cash-crop fueled agriculture and a growing urban population, Ethiopia posted average economic growth of 9.8% a year during the first half of this decade.


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  • Lebu Railway Station to be completed this week

    The Lebu Railway Station in Addis Ababa will finally be completed this week. The station will serve as the main railway station for the up and coming nationwide railway line linking the capital to other parts of the country. 

    Constructed by the Chinese giant, China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC), the station is the biggest in Addis and will connect all railway lines stretching across the country.

    The architectural style of the Lebu station, located in the south eastern outskirts of Addis, displays the cultural heritage of the Oromo people and has three floors, each endowed with space of 8,308 square meters. According to the CREC, the station can host 2,000 persons at a time. 

    The company, also constructing the Sebeta-Mieso line, informed Capital that the railway hub is almost the same size as the station under construction in Adama (Nazareth), which is 80 percent complete. On Friday Zhang Zongyan, CEO of CREC visited the railway project in Adama, according the company’s officials.  The company is very active in Ethiopia, and has completed the first ever Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (AALRT) and has also completed parts of the Sebeta (Addis Ababa)-Mieso-Dire Dawa-Dewelle line. 

    The Sebta-Adama-Mieso railway is the very first section of Line I of the Ethiopian National Railway Network Project Phase I. The contract is valued at USD 1.841 billion, to be completed in a construction period of 42 months.

    The national project, located on the central plateau of Ethiopia, starts from Sebeta, west of Addis and runs south passing Akaki, Bishouftu, Mojo and Adama; then runs east through Metehara, Awash, and Mieso, spanning 329 kms, with 115kms double-tracked on the Sebeta-Adama section.

    The Adama-Mieso line is single-track section with a length of 214kms, which will allow a speed of up to 120km/h. The line is an electrified railway, with semiautomatic block systems in place.

    CREC has made great advances, rising from 86th to 71st place on Fortune magazine’s Global 500, with USD 99.5 billion in sales.

    China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) is the other Chinese company constructing the 339km Mieso-Dire Dawa-Dewelle railway project for USD 1.12 billion. The company is also undertaking the USD 525 million railway project in Djibouti that connects Ethiopia to the Djiboutian port. 

    Djibouti’s 92km railway, including the 12km that will link the Doraleh Multipurpose Port, Oil Terminal and Doraleh Container Terminal, is expected to be fully completed by October, 2015. The Djibouti project is expected to be operational in the beginning of the coming year if the electrification project is completed as planned.

    Source: CapitalEthiopia 

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  • New Sebeta-Addis Ababa-Adama-Mieso railway nears completion

    ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Sebeta/Addis Ababa-Adama-Mieso railway, which is a section of Ethiopia’s key railway project of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway being built by the China Railway Group (CREC) is nearing completion.

    As the track-laying activity is approaching to completion, a grand ceremony was held on Monday in Adama town about 99 km south of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, where senior government officials, diplomats, Chinese and local staff of CREC as well as residents of Adama town celebrated the landmark chapter of the project.

    The Sebeta/Addis Ababa-Mieso railway project covers a total length of 329.145 km.

    The Ababa-Adama section is a double track with 115 km length while the Adama-Mieso is a single track covering 214.145 km.

    The standard-gauge railway, which is one section of the first Ethiopia’s national railway network, has been contracted by CREC with a total cost of nearly two billion U.S. dollars.

    With the designed speed of 120km/h, the electrified-railway connects Addis Ababa with important cities of Adama, Dire Dawa, and Djibouti Port, and is the main transporting corridor for imports and exports of Ethiopia and the inland of East Africa.

    Stating that the project is the first modern railway in Ethiopia, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the project is a blood-line of the country’s economy.

    "In addition to its contribution to facilitation of transportation in the country, the project plays significant role in sharing experience and transfer of technology and skills from the Chinese to Ethiopians, which in the future will enable Ethiopian professionals carry out such infrastructure projects in the country on their own," he said.

    Stating that more than 80 percent of the project has been completed so far, Getachew Betru, CEO of the Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC), noted that the speed and works on the construction of the project show that it would be fully completed as per the contract schedule and standard.

    Getachew called on all concerned parties and the local community to continue to display the usual collaboration and provide support to the undertaking of the project towards its successful completion, and then test-ride and handover ceremony.

    Reiterating that the railway facilitates Ethiopia’s imports and exports via the Addis Ababa-Djibouti corridor, Arkebe Equbay, Minister Advisor to the Prime Minister and also Board Chairman of ERC, highlighted on the role the project plays in the country’s economic performance.

    He noted that the project also contributes to economic integration in the sub-region, and is a model one from which good experience has been gained for future railway projects to be carried out in the country.

    Appreciating the commitment and collaboration of Ethiopians and the Chinese towards the success of the project, La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, hailed the project’s role in strengthening friendship and also taking the relations between Ethiopia and China to a new height.

    He reiterated that the project helps technology and skill transfer between the Chinese experts and Ethiopian counterparts.

    Commenced in February 2012, the Sebeta/Addis Ababa-Mieso Railway Project is expected to be fully completed in few months.

    CREC is also carrying out the 475-million-U.S. dollar Addis Ababa electrified railway project, which started test-ride early February this year in the capital of the East African nation.

    CREC, which is one of the world’s top 500 enterprises with 300, 000 permanent staff, has overseas projects in 68 countries and regions.

    While working on different projects in Ethiopia, CREC has been supporting the local people, especially those who are by the projects sites, where the Chinese company has undertaken development programs in water supply and road development.

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