Ethiopia test runs electric railway to Djibouti


Ethiopia was once tagged ” the second poorest country in the world” but at present, the country’s rapid economic growth has brought with it positive trends in poverty reduction in both urban and rural areas. It was initially recorded that 55.3% of Ethiopians lived in extreme poverty in 2000, but by 2011, this figure was reduced to 33.5%. This is because the government has put to place some rightful things to aid development.

Recently, as part of the country’s progress, the Ethiopia Railways Company will begin regular test runs on the route connecting the country to its neighbour Djibouti. This is to enable smooth business transaction with the country. A total of 30 locomotives – fifteen each for passengers and freight will be used for the test.

The Ethio-Djibouti railway line was launched in October last year as part of efforts to open up Ethiopia to business. The route comprises a 758-km stretch linking Addis Ababa and the Red Sea state of Djibouti.

The Chinese-built project was aimed at creating new manufacturing industries, improving transport and further opening up landlocked Ethiopia. The two countries in December 2016 announced a joint company to manage the railway line.

To confirm the report, the state-affiliated FANA broadcasting corporate explained that two Chinese firms have been contracted to oversee the railway line for the next six years as local employees are trained to takeover in due course.

In addition, an official of the management company disclosed that the test runs will be carried out in two directions which will be between the capital, Addis Ababa and the eastern city of Dire Dawa. Then, another test run from Dire Dawa to Djibouti.

It was also stated that the passenger trains will conduct the test run at a speed of 60km/h which will be raised to 120km/h once it successfully completed the trial process. The standard gauge Ethio-Djibouti electrified double-track is expected to slash the journey time between the two countries to under 10 hours. The time spent in travelling between the two countries will automatically reduce. This will help to save time and aid faster business transaction.

Ethiopia government has disclosed that it seeks 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. This will definitely save cost.

Also, as part of the country’s progress, the Ethiopian Government has committed itself to a five-year Growth and Transformation Plan which involves sustainably improving rural livelihoods and national food security. U.S. assistance capitalizes on a partnership with the government to increase economic growth with resiliency, deliver quality basic public health and education services and promote a governance environment that is conducive for sustainable economic development.

The Ethiopia government’s five year Growth and Transformation plan is really making impact in the society. However, the electric railway will go a long way to add value to the country. It will reduce cost and aid business transaction in and outside the country.

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