China Claims Ownership Of Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway

Built in China, paid for by China, built by Chinese, operated and maintained by Chinese — news media reports often describe the newly refurbished, high-speed Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway as a project in which China is fully vested.

But China didn’t finance the entire railway. The Ethiopian section of the line cost $3.4 billion, and China Exim Bank provided 70 of the financing, according to The Ethiopian government paid for 30 percent of its section. The Djibouti Government contributed $878 million for the project. If this is true, African countries financed about 45 percent of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway.

“Chinese-built and -financed Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway, the first electrified railway in Africa” — that’s how Global Times describes the railway.

In fact the railway connecting landlocked Ethiopia with Djibouti Port opened in 1917. It provided Ethiopia with a major cargo entry point, but deteriorated due to a lack of maintenance and management.

Chinese government-sponsored contractors will be in charge of maintaining the refurbished railway, at least for six years. China Railway Group Limited and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation won the bid to operate and manage the railway. After that China will continue to provide two years of tech support.

A team of about 1,000 Chinese are in charge of the operation. In Ethiopia, more than 2,000 locals have been trained as drivers, stewards and maintenance staff in preparation for the gradual handover. Read more here.