Promoting Railway Interconnections Facilitating Economy

The expansion of railway infras tructure is decisive to catalyze the ongoing socio-economic progress in Ethiopia while catching up with cutting-edge railway technological know-how is central to this effort.

Ethiopia announced the construction of Addis Ababa Light Railway Transit (AALRT) project in 2011. It took only four solid years for residents of Addis to see the metro project coming to completion–that was on 20 September 2015.

Currently, AALRT transports huge number of residents from one corner of the city to the other within few minutes. Literally, the east-west and north-south travels which used to take several hours due to traffic congestion have been limited to less than an hour–with its capacity of transporting an average of 350,000 travelers a day and more than 31 million travelers annually.

Surafel Hailegnaw is a teacher by profession. He lives at the southern tip of Addis, in Akaki Kaliti sub-city. Approached by The Ethiopian Herald, he says that before the commencement of AALRT, he had to leave his home before dawn. But even with that, it was hard to him to be early on his job.

This reporter met him at Piazza at 7:00, and asked what time he starts in the morning these days. It took him only half an hour to get to Piazza, and he has more relaxing time in the morning.

The main target of the light rail is serving the community rather than making profit, indicates Ethiopian Railway Corporation Public Relations Director Dereje Tefera.

The light railway is not profitable even if it secures more than 110 million Birr annually. The transport fare could have been that affordable if the company had targeted at profits.

Inaugurated over a year ago, the Ethio-Djibouti railway project is currently on a high speed and heavy load test to launch full service within few weeks. The project is awaiting confirmation of green light in performance and certification by the Chinese Railway Association Group.

Dereje emphasizes that the nation aspires to become a leading home to electric power based railway network in Africa through interconnecting with neighboring countries as well. Such effort also manifests the country’s steadfast move toward green economic development, and its contributions in promoting regional integration, he adds.

Dereje underlined that the country is not limited with expanding railway infrastructure. It gives stress to enhance local railway engineers and operators, he added.

Following this, the nation has produced competent professionals that effectively manage and masters the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (AALRT). And this success story will be repeated at the Ethio-Djibouti railway projects which will commence full operations in the near future, Dereje noted.

Currently, Addis Ababa Institute of Technology is giving training with post graduate and doctorate level to supply the Ethiopian Railway Corporation effective human power demand.

Institute Center for Railway Engine ering Post Graduate Programme Coordinator and Lecturer Brehanu Reesom said that the center is doing its level best in supplying competent human power in the sector.

According to Brehanu, more than 370 trainees [30 Djiboutian] with post graduate programme were graduated from the center.

"The center signs partnership agreements with international, regional and national universities to diversify its area of studies and African center of excellence in railway education."

The other huge railway projects of the nation Awash-Woldia [1.7 billion USD] and Mekelle-Woldia [1.54 billion USD] railway lines are well in progress which has seen 61 percent and 46 percent completion respectively, Dereje notes.

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According to him, the country also laid a cornerstone to the construction of other railway infrastructure and searching for financial sources to launch the projects’ construction including Sebeta-Bedele, Ambo-Jimma, Modjo-Hawassa and Woldia-Woreta-via Bahirdar to Sudan. These newly started projects will be finalized within forty two months, he concludes.


Nurturing manufacturing for the common good

History reveals that industrialization is the key to economic development. Structural transformation from traditional to modern industrial sectors improves productivity, fosters innovation, and facilitates technology diffusion and other positive spillover effects.

We all agree that, growth of the manufacturing sector within industry is essential to build national technol ogical capacity, industrial capability and create broad based job opportunity and improve income. In addition to this, the development of the manufacturing industry helps to improve the total factor productivity and competitiveness of the overall economy and its trickle down effect to up and down the supply chain. Because of existence of a number of comparative advantages in the country and to strengthen its competitiveness the incumbent had been offering multiple incentives for the growth of the manufacturing sector. Though the manufacturing sector is a way out for sustainable economic development, its growth is not without challenges.

Facing this challenges North Shewa Zone sneaking to nurture the sector for the common good. The Zone Head Girma Yeshitila told The Ethiopian Herald that : "Domestic and internat ional manufactures and industrialists that hail from China, Turkey and India have already expressed their readiness to rent sheds in our industrial park taking into considerations the incentives the State availing to the investors, and the administration’s proximity to the capital."

Despite challenges ,North Shewa Zone industry and manufacturing Sector has been showing progress and moving at right direction in-terms of creating jobs and realizing economic structure.

One of designs of Amhara State ‘s integrated agro industrial parks

According to Girma the number industrial parks by the Federal Government are growing and Amhara State is also opening industrial parks at Shoa Robit and peripheral of Debre Berhan.

Debre Berhan Deputy Mayor Bedilu Wubeshet for his part said the city has 149 new emerging manufactures with capital of 17.9 billion Birr, which means the city ‘s economy is growing.

The administration has been working to diversify the connectivity of the city to nation rail and express ways to the capital and other major routes of export lines of the nation, he added.

Trade and Industry Market Development Bureau Head Shimeles Tibebu reiterated the industries have been creating jobs for locals and beyond.

Currently, Tulefa a small town in the administration at a distance of 65 km form Capital was once a small village now turned manufacturing destination of industries and manuf- actures of pharmaceutical and other. Learning all the opportunity companies is racing each other to this town.

As to him, learning the perfor- mances and the available opportunities for local and foreign manufacturing companies, the number of investors that is showing keen interest in doing business with the administration is steadily increasing .

"The Bureau firmly believes that the State has potential to usher many diversified industries and manufac tures so we want invite them to be part of the ongoing development. Foreign investors over 40 have engaged in manufacturing that created job for over 11,781 fellow citizens in the state.

The amazing development of Debre Berhan could be a show case that everyone could witness.