Ethiopia- Djibouti railway to transform trade in eastern Africa region

The Ethiopia- Djibouti railway is one of the mega infrastructure projects on the continent.

The railway connects the heart of Ethiopia with the port of Djibouti. It was built at a cost of $ 4 billion, most of it funded by China.

The railway is anticipated to play a role in transforming economic growth not only in the two nations but in the whole of the Eastern Africa region.

As CGTN’s Girum Chala reports

For people, it used to take at least three days to get to Djibouti using road transport. Now it’s only 8 hours, plus comfort and less pressure on their pockets.

The China funded train connecting Ethiopia to Djibouti will soon start changing lives even beyond the eastern Africa region.

“It’s the face of china in Africa  …it’s the best and modern railway that connects Ethiopia and Djibouti, and by far for the future it will connect also up to Senegal. So its economic importance is very big for both countries.” Ethiopian Ambassador to Djibouti, Shamebo Fitamo said.

“As similar to its predecessor, this railway will also play an important role in the integration of the two countries, which will facilitate the transportation of people and goods. “Head of Djibouti trail project, Mohamed Khaire Roble said.

So this is a success story out of almost four years of investment mainly from China and collaboration between Ethiopia and Djibouti.

But the work is also beyond putting together a world class infrastructure here. Chinese engineers say the project has helped them transfer skills and knowledge to their counter parts in Ethiopia.

“Also the engineers from the Ethiopia side …we seat in the same office, we talk the same issues, we face the same difficulties…so that is why we transfer the knowledge to Ethiopia and Djibouti.and for the future we have to the operation phase …we have the contract, we have the duty to give training of the Ethiopia and Djibouti people let them know how to run this train.” Deputy Head, CCECC, Yang Lee said.

This cargo train connecting Djibouti port to the heart of Ethiopia has a capacity of transporting 3500 tonnes at a time in about ten hours. That makes a huge difference compared to formerly transporting the same cargo size using 70 trucks in 3-4 days’ time.

Many see this train not only as a means of transportation for goods and people from one part of Africa to the other .This is also one of the best examples…a promising sign for future cooperation between china and Africa.

Many say through the belt and road initiative it’s safe to say the best is yet to come.