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India, China to help build Ethiopia rail network


Addis Ababa : India and China will help build a railway network across Ethiopia that would significantly improve the east African nation’s transport system.

India has pledged $300 million for the national rail network construction while China’s Export and Import (EXIM) Bank has inked a deal to finance 85 percent of the cost of a light rail network in the capital city of Addis Ababa at $490 million.

The cost of the rail network across the country has been estimated at $6 billion, according to an initial estimation.

“India has pledged to provide us with $300 million for the project as part of its assistance to the infrastructure development of African countries,” Ethiopian Transport Minister Diriba Kuma told the Capital newspaper.

“We have asked India for another $300 million for the project,” he said.

The rail network is part of the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan that sets a target of construction of a 2,395-km national rail track.

The Addis Ababa track would be 36.5 km long.

Diriba told parliament every kilometre of the national track would cost $2-3 million. Based on this calculation, the average cost for a prioritised 1,808-km network would amount to around $4.5 billion.

The Addis Ababa rail network, supplemented by buses and taxis, would help in solving the ever-increasing transportation problems the city was facing, officials said.

China has also given four buses, whose manufacturing would be emulated locally as part of the government’s plan to deploy 500 new buses in the capital.