Addis Ababa Light Rail set for completion in January

AA RailAddis Ababa – Ethiopia expects to complete the Chinese-backed construction of a $475 million metro rail system in the capital Addis Ababa next month, the head of the project said.

The project, built by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and mostly financed through a loan from China’s Exim Bank, is a rarity on a continent plagued by poor transport links.

Beijing is a major partner in Ethiopia’s bid to expand its infrastructure, with cumulative investments by Chinese firms reaching well over $1 billion, official figures show.

The Horn of Africa country is building a new rail link to neighbouring Djibouti and wants to complete 5,000 km of railway lines by 2020.

It will also aims to almost treble the size of the road network by next year, from less than 50,000 km in 2010.

Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, expanding by about 9 percent a year and attracting overseas investment with its with rock-bottom wages, cheap and stable electricity and transport projects such as the metro.

A country where many still rely on subsistence agriculture, Ethiopia is nonetheless developing a reputation for producing clothes, shoes and other basic goods that have attracted firms from China, as well as India and the Gulf.

The metro system will transform the lives of the more than 5 million people in the capital, where commuters currently wait in long queues before they are crammed onto buses and minivans.

Read more at: The Africa Reporter

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