Coffee Originating from Africa’s Gateway along the Belt and Road Railway


Editor’s note: On the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), let’s take the railways in BRI partner countries and explore the projects as well as the local sights and sounds. In this article of the “Railways Along the Belt and Road” series, we focus on how the brand-new Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway and industrial cooperation have made Ethiopia, home of the coffee beans, and regional countries thrive.

The brand-new Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway has made cities, villages and industries along the route thrive. /Shen Shiwei, Huang Ruiqi

The brand-new Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway has made cities, villages and industries along the route thrive. /Shen Shiwei, Huang Ruiqi

The brand-new Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway has made cities, villages and industries along the route thrive. /Shen Shiwei, Huang Ruiqi

A cargo train loaded with Ethiopia’s world famous coffee and leather products departed from Addis Ababa, heading eastward toward Djibouti port – one of the largest modern ports in East Africa – at a speed of 120 kilometers an hour. The brand new Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway, with a distance of 752 kilometers, is a vital trade route and a lifeline for Ethiopia’s 120 million people. Why?

A freight train runs through an industrial park in Ethiopia along the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway. /China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC)

A freight train runs through an industrial park in Ethiopia along the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway. /China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC)

A freight train runs through an industrial park in Ethiopia along the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway. /China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC)

It’s mainly because the railway has cut transportation time for freight goods from more than three days to less than 20 hours and reduced the cost by at least one third. It matters a lot as over 90 percent of landlocked Ethiopia’s trade with the rest of the world relies on ports in neighboring Djibouti and a large number of its population needs to be lifted out of poverty.

Check new:   GTA 6 will also be released on Nintendo Switch 2, according to a rumorLatest

For years, transportation between the two countries took more than seven days by road and the cost was very high. Nowadays, Ethiopia could further boost one of its main exports – coffee – to global markets at a faster speed and lower transportation cost.

A new Chinese-built terminal has consolidated Addis Ababa in Ethiopia as an aviation hub in the African continent. /Reuters

A new Chinese-built terminal has consolidated Addis Ababa in Ethiopia as an aviation hub in the African continent. /Reuters

A new Chinese-built terminal has consolidated Addis Ababa in Ethiopia as an aviation hub in the African continent. /Reuters

Moreover, the railway, with both passenger and freight services, has also reshaped the geographic position of Ethiopia in the marine traffic network, enabling sea-rail combined transportation service under which “Made in Ethiopia” goods can get market access to Asia, Europe and North America with a more competitive edge. It also consolidated Djibouti’s position as a regional logistics hub. Realizing the huge benefits to regional economic development, the World Bank has approved grants to further develop the Addis-Djibouti Corridor in 2023.

Chinese-aid project of Friendship Square is an important part of Beautifying Sheger Project, which transforms the heart of Ethiopia's capital. /Xinhua

Chinese-aid project of Friendship Square is an important part of Beautifying Sheger Project, which transforms the heart of Ethiopia’s capital. /Xinhua

Chinese-aid project of Friendship Square is an important part of Beautifying Sheger Project, which transforms the heart of Ethiopia’s capital. /Xinhua

In recent years, booming China-Africa cooperation in building hydropower plants, industrial parks and railways has brought great benefits to the locals. Huge Chinese investments in developing Ethiopia’s hydropower, wind power and grid network have realized Ethiopia’s dream of becoming a regional hub of electricity exports.

China-aid African Center for Disease Control (CDC) Headquarters Building Project (Phase I) is a milestone project in China-Africa public health cooperation that reflects a blossoming China-Africa relationship. /CGTN

China-aid African Center for Disease Control (CDC) Headquarters Building Project (Phase I) is a milestone project in China-Africa public health cooperation that reflects a blossoming China-Africa relationship. /CGTN

By increasing the capacity of power generation, Ethiopia has not only been able to boost business and industrialization, but has also become a hub of clean energy to export electricity to neighboring countries including Kenya, Sudan and Djibouti, among others. Maybe that’s why Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway can become Africa’s first standard-gauge electrified railroad.

Ethiopia's first-ever satellite, known as ETRSS-1, was launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China on December 20, 2019. /Xinhua

Ethiopia’s first-ever satellite, known as ETRSS-1, was launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China on December 20, 2019. /Xinhua

Ethiopia’s first-ever satellite, known as ETRSS-1, was launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China on December 20, 2019. /Xinhua

The railway, along with the neighboring industrial parks, has become a road to prosperity for people in Ethiopia. And that’s what has happened in neighboring Kenya as the landmark project of Chinese-built Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is expanding service to landlocked Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and East Africa at large.

Source