India to support the Ethio-Djibouti railway project

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By Beletu Bulbula

Ethiopia got a promise of support from India for its project on Ethio-Djibouti railway. Addressing the 2nd India-Africa Summit, the Prime Minister of India Mr. Manmohan Singhe said based on the advice of the African Union, India would support the development of a new Ethio-Djibouti rail way line to the tune of US$300 million.  The PM said support would assist Ethiopia to finalize the new Ethiopia-Djibouti rail way project.

In February, Ethiopia announced that it will be expecting the financing for the rail ways, especially the Ethio-Djibouti railway from the Export Import (EXIM) Bank of China. The said amount was US$ 1.5 billion.  Sources say, the two parties have been negotiating on the prospect of the project with the Indian government and the Indian Prime Minister’s statement is an indication that two parties had concluded negotiations on the agreement. The Ethiopian government has planned to construct a total of 5,000 km railway line, out of which 2,395 is projected to be finalized in the coming five years.

The Indian support to the Ethio-Djibouti railway project will facilitate trade between the two countries. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Mr Ato Desalege Hailmariam gave the assurance that Ethiopia is ready to augment its trade exchange with India, including its share of imports.

The previous Ethio-Djibouti railway runs from Djibouti at sea level to Addis Ababa, with an elevation of 2,800 meters above sea level. The project, which was initiated at the beginning of the 20th century, was the only rail line connecting landlocked Ethiopia with Djibouti. At the end of Ethio-Eritrea conflict; Ethiopia has shifted its trade route from the Eritrean Red Sea and Designated Djibouti Port as its major cargo gate.  The railway stretches 780 km, of which 681 are located within Ethiopia and approximately 99 km are Djibouti. The Ethiopian industrial centers of Dire Dawa, Awash, Metehara, Modjo, Debre Zeit, Akaki, and Addis Ababa are located along this line.

This makes the railway an important transportation link and export/import route for Ethiopia. However, due to lack of maintenance, poor management, and lack of commercial focus, the rail way has deteriorated and is no longer operational.

 

  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit