March 30, 2011 (Ezega.com) -- India and China have separately agreed to finance construction of a railway corridor across Ethiopia. The proposed 2,395-km national rail track, which is part of the Growth and Transformation Plan, is being seen as quite significant for the transportation system in this east African country.
The entire railway network to be constructed across Ethiopia is estimated to cost $6 billion, of which India has pledged $300 million. The country seeks $300 million more from India, which has pledged assistance for the development of infrastructure in Africa.
Besides India, China has pledged $490 million to finance 85 percent of the cost of the Addis Ababa railway network. The Export and Import Bank of China has signed a deal with Ethiopia to fund a significant amount for the construction of the 36.5-km-long light rail network in Addis Ababa, the capital city.
According to an estimate, construction of every kilometer of the 2,395-km-long national rail track is expected to cost $2-3 million, while the prioritized 1,808-km-long rail network, targeted to be completed in five years, would likely cost $4.5 billion. The railway corporation vows to complete the remaining part soon.
With the total cost of the entire project estimated at $6 billion, the Ethiopian Government seeks more assistance for the Growth and Transformation Plan from both of its infrastructure development partners.The Ethiopian Railway Corporation has high hopes from the Addis Ababa rail network, which is seen as the solution to the mounting transportation problems facing the capital city. The Addis Ababa rail system will be supplemented by buses and taxis, for which the Ethiopian Railway Corporation seeks Chinese assistance.
During Indian external affairs minister’s visit to the country in February 2010, the president of Ethiopia requested for Indian assistance to build an extensive rail transport network connecting the major towns of the country and a rail corridor with Djibouti. In the recent years, there has been a growing competition between India and China to fund projects in African countries and provide loans and assistance for infrastructure development.
Continuing its focus on Africa program, China has agreed to provide four buses in built-in condition along with the transfer of their manufacturing technology. The Government of Ethiopia plans to use this technology to manufacture more units of such buses in the country.