[Ethiopia] Addis ababa- Djibouti railway opens region to trade and opportunities
The Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, which connects Ethiopia’s capital to the Port of Djibouti has officially been opened.
The new 752km track linking Ethiopia’s capital with the Port of Djibouti was inaugurated in the presenceof Djibouti’s President Omar Guelleh, and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
The new railway can reach speeds of 160 km/hr for passenger trains and 120 km/h for cargo trains. It will cut cargo journey times between the Port of Djibouti and Addis Ababa from three days by road to just 12 hours. Trial services for the new $4.2 billion railway began in October 2016, with regular services transporting goods and passengers expected to begin early this year.
The Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway is a standard gauge railway which links Addis Ababa with the Port of Djibouti. The railway will provide sea access for the landlocked Ethiopia via the trade which 95 percent Ethiopia’s trade is undertaken by.
Currently, more than 90 percent of Ethiopia's trade passes through Djibouti, accounting for 70 percent of the overall activity at Djibouti’s ports. With Africa’s GDP predicted to double by 2035, and the population expected to reach 2.5 billion over the next 30 years, the continent is in need of major new infrastructure links.
The railway will also support the development of Djibouti’s International Free Trade Zone (DIFTZ), which will help spur the nation’s manufacturing industry and open the doors for employment opportunities. The railway project has been coupled with a $15 billion expansion programme to improve Djibouti’s port facilities, and build new highways and airports in the country.