Djibouti Inaugurates Electric Railway Line Built by China
China has forged further in its relationship with the African community after the launch of a $3.4 billion electric railway line on Wednesday, linking Djibouti with Ethiopia. The 750 km railway line was inaugurated on Tuesday at the Nagad Railway station in Djibouti.
Ethiopia had launched the railway line on its side in October last year, with trial services beginning around the same time. This is the first standard gauge railway line to be built using Chinese technology in Africa.
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A report by All Africa revealed that the rail is expected to start transporting goods and services early this year. Following the launch of the railway line, travel time has been reduced from the initial three days by road to 12 hours by rail within the two states.
The railway will be traveling at a speed of 160km/hr for passenger and 120km/hr for goods. Currently, 90 percent of Ethiopia's trade plans pass through Djibouti, accounting for 70 percent of the trade activities at the Djibouti port.
Present in the occasion was Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
The South China Morning Post reported that rail was 70 percent financed by the Exim Bank of China financed and built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and China Railway Construction Corporation.
The head of CCECC, Yuan Li, expressed his joy and assured the two states that more are still to come.
"The launch of the Djibouti-Ethiopia railway line is a dream come true and another symbol of China-Africa friendship," Yuan said.
Plans are currently underway on the construction of a 2,000 km railway line to link Djibouti with Ethiopia and later South Sudan. Future plans on the construction of a Trans-African rail that runs across Africa are still on the idea phase.