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Passengers experience the first electric railway in Africa
   2016-10-05 22:39:13    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo Jing

A Chinese-built railway linking the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the port of Djibouti is formally inaugurated on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The 752-kilometer long railway line is the first electric railway in Africa. It will also provide landlocked Ethiopia with a faster access to the port, and encourage industrialization along its route. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com / Xing Yihang]

A Chinese-built railway linking the Ethiopian capital and Djibouti has been formally put into service.

An Ethiopian military band helping inaugurate the new rail link, which is the first fully-electric rail line in Africa.

Running a total length of 752.7-kilometers, the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway is designed to run at speeds of around 120-kilometers per hour.

It has been put together by the China Railway Group and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

The project itself is worth some 4-billion US dollars, much of which has been financed through China's policy banks.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailmariam Desalegn says the new rail link is a major step forward in helping grow his landlocked country's economy.

"The plan we have through infrastructure building is to bring economic development into the country. Through it we are making a structural transformation of our countries' infrastructure and thus cutting down poverty. Before creating modern transport system it was impossible to achieve fast economic development industry and it was difficult to be competitive. This new railway will operate 100 per cent by electricity and it is the first one in Africa which will now connect Djibouti and east Africa."

Djibouti's President, Ismail Omar, says the new rail line is also going to bring tangible benefits to his small nation.

"The trip took six days by rail from the port of Djibouti to Addis Ababa, with this new electric rail it will take seven hours to transport goods and people between our two capitals. Our two peoples have once again joined forces to rebuild this new railway and make it the new face of our prosperous relationship."

The railway is the first to be built outside of China using Chinese equipment and standards.

The new line is the second trans-national railway to be built by China in Africa.

The Tanzara Railway, which was first built in the 1970s, links the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, with the city of Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia.

Xu Shaoshi, head of China's National Development and Reform Commission, was on-hand on Wednesday to help inaugurate the new Chinese project.

"The opening of the railway is an important milestone in the development history for both Ethiopia and Djibouti. It is also the important early harvest project for the implementation of the ten cooperation plan as proposed by China's President Xi Jinping at last year's FOCAC Johannesburg Summit, as one of the demonstrative project for China Africa production capacity cooperation and the establishment of networks of railway road regional aviation and industrialization. "

The rail line will not only provide passenger service between Addis Ababa and Djibouti, but will also be used to transport products through the Port in Djibouti.

It's currently being staffed by both local and Chinese personnel.

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