Passengers ride Ethiopia’s new tramway on September 20, 2015 in Addis Ababa (AFP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)
Sub-Saharan Africa’s first modern tramway opened in the Ethiopian capital on Sunday, marking the completion of a massive infrastructure project hailed as a major step in the country’s economic development.
Even before the ribbon was cut, several hundred residents were queueing for a ride on the trams, which have the capacity to carry 60,000 passengers a day across the capital of Africa’s second most populous nation.
The two line, 34-kilometre (21 mile) system was built by the China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) . The project cost $475 million, 85 percent of which has been covered by China’s Exim bank.
“I’m very excited and very proud as an Ethiopian. We have been waiting for this for a long time. It will curb the transportation shortage,” said Dereje Daba, who had waited for two hours to become one of the first passengers on the new line.
Currently working in a café in the city center, he said the tram would cut his daily commute from one hour to just 20 minutes. So far only the north-south line is open, with the east-west line due to open next month.
The tramway is designed to relieve the mounting strain on the city’s roads where, up to now, public transport for the five million and growing population has consisted of aged buses and so-called “blue donkeys” — a network of cramped minibuses.
“I have had many problems with the blue donkeys, with the long lines … I hope this will no longer be a problem,” said Tigist Dekele, a young woman who lives in the city.
Ticket prices have also been set at the low, accessible rate of no more than $0.30.
The light rail has been hailed as a milestone in fast-growing Ethiopia‘s development, and part of a cluster of major infrastructure projects that include railway lines, motorways and dams.
Ethiopia’s transport minister, Workneh Gebeyehu, said the tramway project would also boost Ethiopia’s bid to make the city — already the seat of the African Union — the undisputed continental hub.
“This is a sign of modernity. This is a very modern train that will serve the capital city of Africa. We are very proud of that,” he said. “The light rail is not for commercial purposes. Tickets are very cheap.”
Authorities have also promised the scheme will not be beset by power cuts, with a separate power grid set up to feed the lines.
Source: Home | AFP.com
- Ethiopia and Djibouti have launched the first fully electrified cross-border railway line in Africa
- Ethiopia bets on grand projects in drive for industrial power
- Ethiopia says new railway to Djibouti to start in early 2016
- Nairobi to Mombasa high-speed railway opens
- Ethiopia’s economy: Neither a sprint nor a marathon
- Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) considers adding stock & bond trading
- Here are seven of Africa’s largest infrastructure projects currently under construction (Photos)
- Kenya gets $700 million ‘insurance’ financing from IMF, a first for Sub-Saharan Africa frontier markets
- Ethiopia: The Addis millionaire’s club
- 11 giant infrastructure projects that are reshaping Africa
- China’s slowdown – An opportunity for Africa to address longstanding economic inefficiencies: Aubrey Hruby, Co-Founder, Africa Expert Network
- Lagos governor says first light rail project to be completed by December 2016
- Ethiopia scrambles to meet property demand in booming capital
- From chefs to musicians, talented ‘re-pats’ come back to build a modern Ethiopia
- The future of aviation in Africa (Video)
- Made in Africa: Ethiopia positions itself as manufacturing alternative to China
- European Investment Bank Plans Africa Expansion Amid Growth
- Ethiopia’s ruling party wins election landslide
- Standard Bank opens Ethiopia office to cater to fast growing economy
- U.S. Export Agency Doubles Africa Offices to Help Boost Trade
- Africa’s megaprojects: 326 billion reasons Africa is on the move (Photos, Infographic & Video)
- Huawei plans to complete Guinea’s $238M fiber optic network in 2017
- Kenya signs $5.42B railway extension deal with Chinese firm
- 6 reasons to invest in Africa: Tarek Sultan, CEO & Vice Chairman, Agility
- Africa will have faster economic growth than any other region by 2040: PwC
- Ethiopian Airlines to decide on $3B plane order by June end
- Ilyas Dawaleh: The man who wants to make Djibouti the next Dubai
- Here are the eight candidates running for African Development Bank President
- Looking back to move forward: Elsie Kanza, Senior Director & Head of Africa, World Economic Forum
- Nigerian billionaire Abdulsamad Rabiu in talks with China’s Sinoma over $1.9B steel and cement deal
- Nigeria – Racing ahead with ambitious infrastructure plans: This is Africa/Financial Times (Infographic & Report)
- Kenya vs. Tanzania: The race to build Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest port
- Ethiopia launches 4G mobile service in Addis Ababa
- Consumer demand will drive the next wave of private equity investments in Africa, says KPMG Partner Dapo Okubadejo
- Olusegun Obasanjo: My African utopia
- 10 budget airlines changing Africa’s skies
- Ethiopia aims to grow tourism threefold in five years
- East Africa’s second-tier cities hold untapped potential
- Ethiopia: Africa’s fastest growing economy plans to issue first US dollar sovereign bond
- African economies to grow by 4.4% in 2016, up from 3.7% in 2015