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Ethiopia and Eritrea announce plans for new rail link

8th February 2019

By: John Muchira

Creamer Media Correspondent

     

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Ethiopia and Eritrea have announced plans to build a railway line connecting the Ethiopian capital city of Addiss Ababa and the port of Massawa, in Eritrea.

According to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Italy has pledged to finance a feasibility study on the planned 736 km railway line project.

“We are excited and accept with great honour Italia’s plan to extend support to our plan to link Addis Ababa and Massawa,” he said.

The planned railway line will give fast-rising Ethiopia an alternative trade route. The landlocked country currently depends mainly on Djibouti Port for about 98% of its international trade.

Ethiopia has, however, been unable to fully use the Djibouti route, which covers a distance of 750 km, owing to recurring power outages. This has prompted Ethiopia to seek to have the Chinese loan that financed the $4-billion project restuctured.

The new rail line is part of efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries, following the signing of a peace deal in July last year.

This will help boost economic growth in Ethiopia, which has positioned itself as a regional manufacturing and export hub.

In recent years, the country has sustained double-digit growth and is one of the fastest- growing economies in the world.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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