ADDIS ABABA, July 22 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia aims to build along the Ethio-Djibouti electrified railway a development belt attracting investment, particularly in the manufacturing sector, said Ethiopia’s transport minister on Saturday.
Speaking to Xinhua, Ahmed Shide, Minister of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport, said the under-construction Dire Dawa and Adama Industrial parks, as well as the planned Ayisha Industrial Park, which lie on the path of the rail line in particular, are the focus of the development belt.
Dire Dawa and Adama Industrial Parks, 446 km and 99 km East of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, are both being built by China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC).
Dire Dawa Industrial Park is being built at a cost 190 million U.S. dollars while Adama Industrial Park is being built at a cost 125 million dollars.
“The Industrial parks lying on the path of Ethio-Djibouti railway line will be a game changer for both countries and in general for the region, enhancing economic transformation in the region and helping in ease of transportation of goods,” said Shide.
“The railway will not only be a transportation line but also be a development corridor facilitating investment particularly in manufacturing sector,” he added.
The Ethio-Djibouti rail line spanning 756 km connecting landlocked Ethiopia to Djibouti is expected to start commercial operations in October, according to Shide.
The electrified rail line is expected to cut transportation time needed for goods to reach Djibouti port from the Ethiopian hinterland from at least two days to 10 hours.
The rail line will also provide a passenger service, with an average speed of 120 km per hour and a single coach holding 118 passengers at a time.
“The Ethio-Djibouti rail line in the future is envisioned to be part of a larger rail network connecting other parts of Africa through neighboring South Sudan and Sudan,” said Shide.