The Addis-Djibouti Railway is the first standard gauge electrified railroad on the continent build with Chinese standard and technology.
Mr. La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia
On October 5, 2016, the Addis-Djibouti Railway will be formally put into operation. It is a joint effort of Ethiopia, Djibouti and China. For well over 13 months, tens of thousands technicians and workers from the three countries have worked tirelessly on the site of construction stretching 750 kilometers. It is the first standard gauge electrified railroad on the continent build with Chinese standard and technology, and certainly it will not be the last. Many stand to benefit from it.
First and foremost, it is going to contribute to the economic well being of Ethiopia and Djibouti. Ethiopia as a land-locked country will be increasingly turned into a land-linked one with transport cost significantly drop and efficiency greatly improved. The status of Djibouti as a hub of international seaport will also be enhanced. During the construction, nearly 40,000 local jobs have been created, and many of those have gained valuable skills and technics to operate sophisticated railroad machines. The expertise they gain will help their countries develop related industries in the days ahead.
Secondly, international investors across the board stand to gain from the railway. With easier access to international maritime shipping, the existing investors in Ethiopia and Djibouti, be it from Europe, USA, India, Turkey or the others, will cut down significantly their cost and timing of transport. I do recall a visit to a Turkish textile factory near Dire Dawa along the railway last year. I was told by the factory owner that he was so eager to see the running trains that he visited the construction site twice a day! He was so tired of his cargo congested on the highway.
Thirdly, the railway is a good news for all Africans on the continent. Just less than two decades, the continent has turned from a land of despair to a land of hope. It is mainly due to the hard work of Africans themselves. It is also due to so many international partners willing to fulfill the African aspirations for pulling out of poverty and bring about industrialization. Infrastructure development is the wind beneath their wings to fly high. With Addis-Djibouti Railway, it not only contributes to regional wide connectivity, but also serves as a walking lab for all Africans to train their workers and make their own blue print of railway networks.
I could almost envisage the laughter and joy of the crowd at the inauguration ceremony of the railway on October 5 in Addis Ababa. It bodes especially well for Ethiopians and Djiboutians, and it bodes well for all of us, too.
Source: The Ethiopian Herald
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