China-Backed Ethio-Djibouti Railway Providing Crucial Economic, Social Benefits: Firms

The Ethio-Djibouti railway, part of the Belt and Road Initiative flagship infrastructure project for the African continent, has been providing economic and social benefits to the people of Ethiopia and Djibouti, Chinese companies stated.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade, and stimulating economic growth.

Ethio-Djibouti railway is one of the several development projects of the initiative which was put into operation on January 2018.

With a total length of 756 kilometers, the railway that starts from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia in the west, and ends in the port of Djibouti in the east, is the first electrified railway project in Africa.

The project is being operated and maintained by the joint venture of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) under China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) and China Railway Group Limited (CREC).

Representatives of the companies told ENA that the railway is playing a significant role in the development of the countries in terms of increasing transport revenues, enhancing import and export trade as well as in the provision of passenger transport services.

They said the railway has facilitated regional connectivity, interaction, and economic integration.

Deputy General Manager of the CCECC-CREC JV project office Yang Anwei, said the Addis Ababa Djibouti railway has been successfully operated for nearly six years, which is also the end of the operation service contract of the Chinese management.

According to him, over the past six years of operation, the transportation revenue has increased by more than 35 percent every year. The revenue in the first half of 2023 alone has increased by 76 percent compared with the same period of last year.

This shows that the Addis Ababa – Djibouti railway plays a significant role in serving the socio-economic development of Ethiopia and Djibouti.

The railway has been providing crucial benefits to Ethiopia as it is transporting Ethiopia’s import and export goods from and to Djibouti port in addition to passengers, he added.

He pointed out that the number of Ethiopia’s export goods containers has been increasing every year over the past six years.

According to the Deputy General Manager, refrigerated facilities essential to transport export items such as beef, meat, vegetables, and coffee will be instrumental for the future growth of cargo transportation in the Ethio-Djibouti railway.

The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway has a significant impact on increasing development and people-to-people relations.

Addis Ababa – Djibouti Railway is a benchmark project of China-Africa cooperation under the “Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

The dry port of Mojo and Dire Dawa, built alongside the Addis Ababa Djibouti railway have been put into use one after another and the expansion project of Mojo logistic center which is under construction has its own impact on the railway transport. The railway is also vital to stimulating the activities and further development of the Dire Dawa Free Trade Zone, it was indicated.

All of these activities are expected to increase railway contribution to the economic development of Ethiopia, the deputy general manager said expressing his hope that “the future development perspective of this railway line is very good.”

China Railway No.2 Engineering Group (CREGC), a subsidiary of China Railway Group Limited (CREC), international corporation General Manager Hu Tianran said the management contract of the Chinese companies will be completed this year.

By working together and transferring the infrastructure operation and maintenance responsibility to Ethiopians he noted that “in the near future our Ethiopian friends can manage this whole system as what we have done in the past five years”.

He mentioned that even if the maintenance and operation contracts are closed, the technical support from the company will continue.

The Belt and Road Initiative 10th year anniversary summit will be held in China in the second half of October 2023, to discuss the achievements of the initiative and will be agreed on future cooperation areas.

Source: ENA

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