The Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa has celebrated the recent opening of a modern urban light railway or tram service. The project partly funded by China’s Exim Bank, cost the African country $475 million (about R620m) as the investment is seen as a resolution to the city’s “unending transport problems”.
In Addis Ababa, more than 4 million citizens use mini vans when travelling. The new metro will transform how the majority of Ethiopians commute to work as an estimated 60 000 people will be able to journey to the city centre with ease – a new enhancement for sub-Saharan cities. Currently two lines connect the east and west as well as the north and south of Ethiopia.
The train operates from 06:00 to midnight. Manager of Light Rail Project, Behailu Sintayehu, stated the energy powering the metro is generated by large dams across the country. No power is taken from the city of Addis Ababa itself and no power interruptions or shortages are expected.
The preliminary stages of operation are being overseen by Shenzen, a Chinese company, as an interlinking of skills and culture between the two countries. The light rail aims to connect to the national train system by 2025 – this will see over 5,000 km of tracks across Ethiopia.
Ethiopia, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. With over 100 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populous nation on the African continent after Nigeria. It occupies a total area of 1,100,000 square km (420,000 sq mi), and its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa.