The Ethiopian Railway Corporation and the China Railway Group Limited (CREC) on Tuesday signed an accord that enables the latter to construct railways that runs from Sebeta town, some 25 km away from Addis Ababa upto Meiso town in the east of Addis Ababa.
The total distance of the railway project covers some 320 kms, according to the Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC).
The signing ceremony took place at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and witnessed by Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Getachew Mengiste, Ethiopian State Minister of Transport, Fekadu Haile, General Manager of the Addis Ababa Roads Authority, Gu Xiaojie, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, and Qian Zhaogang, Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, among others.
Getachew Betru, General Manger of the Ethiopian Railway Corporation, and Zhou Mengbo, CRC Vice-President, signed the agreement on their respective organizations.
Hailemariam, who is also Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, appreciated the expert team of CREC which has been carrying out dedicated work on the study of the project.
He also thanked the Chinese side for the cooperation with Ethiopia on this special and very important project.
"Today is remarkable day for all of us after different seasons of negotiations, and here decided to sign the first contract; I thank CREC leadership, especially Mr. Zhou, and we are also grateful for the team of expert for dedicated work. My government is keen to know the project be completed with quality and was per the schedule. Thank you for cooperation; thank you," he said.
Ambassador Gu said the Chinese government provides all the necessary support to CREC while working on the project here in Ethiopia.
"The Chinese government provides all the necessary support to CREC, not only to CREC but also to all Chinese companies that are operating in Ethiopia. With the joint efforts of the two sides, the project will be a success," he said.
CREC will give top priority to the project while working on and will complete the project on time, said Zhou, the vice president of CREC.
"This project will be given the top priority by the CREC, and will be completed on time with high quality and efficiency without sparing any resources of CREC. Meanwhile, local capacity building will be performed during the construction of the railway," he said.
Engineer Debebe, the head of Engineering and Project Sector with the Ethiopian Railway Corporation, told Xinhua that the project has been scheduled to be completed within a three and half years period of time.
Debebe said the project in the country's five-year Growth and Development Plan (GTP), is a growth-engine for Ethiopia, which boosts the effectiveness and efficiency of the transportation activity in the country. "Today, we signed a project for the railways starting in the southern part of Addis Ababa, from Sebeta town upto Meiso in eastern part, and it covers the distance of 320 kms of which the first 100 kms from Sebeta upto Adam with two tracks, which accommodates two trains at a time, and the other one the lower one is only for a single track. The project is new and the first in its kind here in our country and it is vital for the economic growth of our country. The corridor in this project is to be connected to the line towards Djibouti in the future, and will have a great role for our export and import activities through the Djibouti port in the future," he said.