Africa’s first modern electrified railway was launched on Wednesday October 5, 2016 in a grand inauguration ceremony in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The rail lines connecting the capitals of Ethiopia and Djibouti are about 752.7km long, moving at a speed of approximately 120km/h. It is was constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and the Chinese Railway Group with a total project cost of c. $4bn.
The speed of the train is said to cut down travel time between both capitals from 7 days by road to a mere 10 hours. Industrial and commercial activity is expected to pick up along this route and its stations because of the significant reduction in travel time.
Ethiopia’s economic performance in recent years has been relatively impressive. Expected GDP growth for 2016 is 9.60% according to the IMF and their 2016 Ease of Doing Business ranking in Sub-Saharan Africa for dealing with construction permits and enforcing contracts are 6th and 7th respectively.