The Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway, Africa’s longest electrified railway, has been hailed as a game-changer for trade and development in the region. The railway, which connects Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa with the port of Djibouti, reduces travel time from three days to 12 hours and boosts the capacity and efficiency of cargo transport.
The railway, which was inaugurated in 2018, is a joint project between Ethiopia and Djibouti, with funding and technical support from China. The railway covers a distance of 752 kilometers (467 miles) and has 18 stations along the route. It can carry up to 3,500 tons of cargo per train and transport up to six million passengers per year.
The railway is expected to have significant economic and social benefits for both countries, as well as for the wider region. Ethiopia, which is landlocked and has a population of over 100 million people, relies on Djibouti for about 95% of its imports and exports. The railway will lower the cost of transportation and increase the volume and diversity of trade between the two countries. It will also create new opportunities for industrialization, urbanization, tourism, and cultural exchange.
Djibouti, which is strategically located at the entrance of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, is a major hub for international trade and maritime security in Africa. The railway will enhance Djibouti’s role as a regional gateway and logistics center, attracting more investment and business from neighboring countries and beyond. It will also improve Djibouti’s infrastructure, energy supply, and environmental protection.
The Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway is part of the broader vision of the African Union to connect the continent through integrated transport networks. It is also aligned with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to promote global connectivity and cooperation through infrastructure development. The railway is seen as a model of successful cooperation between African countries and China, as well as a symbol of friendship and mutual benefit.