Ethiopia expected to complete the Chinese-backed construction of a US$ 475m metro rail system in Addis Ababa next month, the head of the project said. The rail system, built by China Railway Engineering Corporation and mostly financed through a loan from China’s Exim Bank, is a rarity on a continent plagued by poor transport links.
Beijing is a major partner in Ethiopia’s bid to expand its infrastructure, with cumulative investments by Chinese firms reaching well over $1bn, official figures show. The Horn of Africa country is building a new rail link to neighbouring Djibouti and wants to complete 5 000 km of railway lines by 2020. It also aims to almost triple the size of the road network by next year, from less than 50 000 km in 2010.
Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, expanding by about 9% per year and attracting overseas investment with its with rock-bottom wages, cheap and stable electricity and transport projects such as the metro.