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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Ethiopia-Djibouti railway to start commercial
operations in October: minister

 

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Chinese built 756 km electrified rail project connecting landlocked Ethiopia to Djibouti will start commercial operations in October, said the Ethiopian transportation minister on Thursday.

Speaking to Xinhua, Ahmed Shide, Minister of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transportation, said the rail project is a showcase of China’s support for Ethiopia’s efforts to transform its economy through infrastructural development.

Shide says Ethiopia is currently doing test runs on the railway and is finalizing preparations to form a joint venture company with Djibouti to manage it.

“We hope the rail project will facilitate expansion of industrial manufacturing and boost Ethiopia’s competitiveness by significantly cutting time needed for Ethiopia’s exports to reach Djibouti port,” he added.

The electrified rail line is expected to cut transportation time needed for goods to reach Djibouti port from the Ethiopian hinterland and vice versa from at least two days to 10 hours.

The rail line will also provide a passenger service, with an average speed of 120 km per hour and a single coach holding 118 passengers at a time.

The first 320 km of the rail project from Sebeta to Mieso was carried out by China Rail Engineering Corporation while the remaining 436 km from Mieso to Djibouti port section was built by China Railway Group.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Experts discuss technical, legal frameworks on Ethiopia-Djibouti railway

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Experts from Ethiopia and Djibouti have on Friday discussed the technical and legal frameworks of the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, which is expected to start commercial service in October.

The joint committee in its meeting on Friday has also discussed the progresses made concerning the construction of additional lines that connects the main railway line with dry ports, petrol depots, and the Djibouti port.

The technical and legal frameworks of the Ethiop-Djibouti railway along with the construction of connecting lines will be completed within the coming two months, local media FBC quoted Ethiopia’s state Minister of Transport Abdisa Yadeta as saying on Friday.

Electric power supply to the electrified rail line was also another area of discussion among experts of the two Horn of Africa countries, it was noted.

The two neighboring countries have signed an agreement in January this year to establish a joint company that manages the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway, which was previously handled by companies of the respective countries.

Built by Chinese companies, the railway line will also provide passenger service with an average speed of 120 km per hour and a single coach holding 118 passengers at a time.

The first 320 km of the rail project from Sebeta to Mieso was carried out by China Rail Engineering Corporation while the remaining 436 km from Mieso to Djibouti port section was built by China Railway Group.

The electrified rail line, once operational, is expected to cut transportation time needed for goods from Djibouti port to Ethiopia’s capital from at least two days to 10 hours.

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Chinese firms create over 28,000 jobs in Ethiopia over past five years: official

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Chinese companies have created more than 28,300 jobs in various sectors during the past five-year period in Ethiopia, an official at the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) told Xinhua Friday.

According to Mekonen Hailu, EIC Communications Director, a total of 28,391 jobs were created by 279 Chinese companies in the east African country during the period of January 2012 to January 2017, of which 20,072 were permanent while the remaining 8,319 were temporary jobs.

Out of these jobs, over 19,000 were created in Ethiopia’s manufacturing sector as the sector is leading its African peers by attracting companies from China both in numbers and financial capital, with a total number of 276 projects both under implementation and operation phase during the stated period, Hailu said.

The data from the Ethiopian Investment Commission further indicated that the 279 Chinese companies that were set operational during the reported period are additional to 100 other Chinese companies that are now currently under implementation in the country.

The 279 Chinese companies have a registered financial capital of over 13.16 billion Ethiopian birr (over 572 million U.S. dollars), it was indicated.

Construction, service and agricultural sectors are the other sectors hosting a great number of Chinese companies in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation.

According to recent data from Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry, Chinese companies have invested around 4 billion U.S. dollars in Ethiopia during the last two decades, creating job opportunities for over 111,000 Ethiopians on permanent and temporary basis.

China is also Ethiopia’s largest trading partner, in which the two countries’ trade reached 6.37 billion dollars in 2015, while growing on average 22.2 percent annually for the last several years.

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Ethiopia, Africa highly benefiting from Chinese engagement: expert

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Chinese engagement has injected positive momentum to the development of Ethiopia in particular and Africa in general, Ethiopian expert Costantinos Bt. Costantinos told Xinhua Friday.

Referring to Chinese-funded and built infrastructure development projects in Ethiopia and the rest of the African continent, Costantinos (PhD), who serves as an economic advisor to African Union (AU) and UN-Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA), said the support is “both timely and important.”

“Infrastructure is the mainstay of any economy; unless you have roads, railways, airports, and energy productions, the economy will suffer,” he said, adding that “Chinese investments and loans from China have many advantages, first they come on time and second they are completed in time.”

With regards to the Ethio-Djibouti railway, Africa’s first modern railway that was built by Chinese companies connecting Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to Djibouti port, Costantinos affirmed that it would highly benefit land-locked Ethiopia.

“We have expected a lot from this railway and it will help Ethiopia’s growing economy that demands a growing import from abroad and export to the rest of the world,” he said, adding that “the investment will not only help the transport of goods but also transport of people among Ethiopians and with the people of Djibouti.”

He also said that the railway, by transforming the current truck-dependent platform with modern railway scheme, would help to ease the congestion at the Djibouti port, a Red Sea port that Ethiopia highly depends on for its import and export needs.

Costantinos further noted that the growing Chinese engagement also helped Africa’s second most populous nation with access to job opportunities to its burgeoning younger generation.

In neighboring country Kenya, Chinese company also helped build a 480km standard gauge railway, connecting capital Nairobi with port city Mombasa. The railway project, which started operation in June this year, greatly cuts the time needed to transport goods and people, and has created nearly 40,000 jobs for the locals.

According to data from the Ethiopian Investment Commission, 279 Chinese companies that were set operational in Ethiopia during the past five-year period (from January 2012 to January 2017) have created more than 28,300 jobs in Ethiopia’s various sectors, in which the country’s manufacturing sector is said to be the major beneficiary.

The expert, who is also professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University, affirmed that an increased people-to-people relation also needs to get due emphasis so as to strengthen the existing inclusive China-Africa relations.

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Drought halves Ethiopia’s meat export in last fiscal year: official

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia has only managed to achieve half of its target from meat export sub-sector during the just completed 2016 / 2017 Ethiopian fiscal year, revealed the Ethiopian Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries on Friday.

The Ministry, which had an initial plan of exporting 38,600 tons of meat abroad, was only able to export 19,779 tons that accounts close to 50 percent of the target, Abrham Tesfaye, Ministry’s public relation head, told Xinhua on Friday.

The shortfall in the country’s target from meat export sub-sector is mainly attributed to the drought scenario that hits parts of the east African country affecting the pastoralist communities that contribute the highest-share of Ethiopia’s cattle population, he asserted.

Despite the initial plan set to earn close to 146 million U.S. dollars from export of the meat sub-sector, the country was only able to generate 100.3 million U.S. dollars during the same period, according to Tesfaye.

Middle Eastern countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman are the largest importers of the product from Ethiopia.

While the livestock sector is an important subdivision within the country’s economy in terms of its contributions to both agricultural value-added and national GDP, recent drought has wrecked havoc on Ethiopia’s cattle population.

Figures from the Ethiopian government revealed that the east African country is home to one of the largest livestock populations in Africa, with approximately 50 million cattle, 50 million goats and sheep, and an additional assortment of horses, donkeys and camels.

The Ethiopian parliament has recently advised the country to modernize the livestock development sector so as to reduce the impacts of drought, such as the ongoing drought that hit the east African country since 2015.

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