Birth of a new Djibouti railway

Ethiopian Railway Corporation
Ethiopian Railway Corporation

Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) awarded the Chinese Railway Corporation (CRC) a bid to undertake the Addis Ababa-Me’eso Railway Project.  Me’eso is located 302 kilometer east of the capital city.

Getachew Betru, general manager of ERC signed the contract agreement last week with Cui Jiangli, deputy general manager for the Engineering Group of the Chinese Corporation, while ministers and regional governments of Ethiopia have been busy introducing their upcoming five year strategic plan to the public.

Ethiopia’s latest five year development strategy ‘Growth and Transformation Plan,’ sees the construction of a huge fertilizer factory, constructing various hydro electric power plants to generate 8,000 MW and the laying of a 2,000 kilometer railway network, as major goals.

ERC prioritized the 2,000 kilometer railway line that will stretch from Addis Ababa to the Port of neighboring Djibouti, the Afar Region and West to Bedele of Oromia Region during the upcoming five years. The additional 3,000 railway line construction to Tigray, Gonder and Southern Region will occur following the completion of the five year strategic plan.

The Chinese government gave the green light for  financing most of the projects with long term loans; Hailemariam Desalegn board chairman of ERC had told Capital two months ago.

According to him, laying a one kilometer railway line will require an average sum of 40 million birr, which means the government has to find and allocate 80 billion birr, an amount a little higher than the 77.2 billion birr national budget set for this year.

ERC manager Getachew Betru had no comment to Capital’s attempt to obtain details of the agreement he signed a week before in the presence of Hailemariam Desalegn.
“The signing of the contract is a landmark to commence the huge project,” Hailemariam said to the Chinese government’s media, Xinhua that was allowed to attend the signing ceremony held ERC’s head office.
“We have gone through several processes to reach this stage and everything has gone smoothly. The cooperation between ERC and CRC is very cordial and the processes of the contract were clear and inviting. It is a landmark and we are so happy to see the signing of the contract to the commencement of the big job,” he said at the ceremony.

The remaining routes to Afar and Bedele of Oromia region both have rich deposits of Potash and coal minerals, respectively will also relie on Chinese funding, according to an official close to government’s infrastructure projects.

Yohannes Anberbir, Capital