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Letter from Africa: 'I gave up on catching the train in Ethiopia'


In our series of letters from African journalists, Ismail Einashe writes about his failed attempt to catch a train in Ethiopia despite the hype around a new Chinese-built railway.

In Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, it is hard to miss the large advertising boards along the traffic-clogged streets that promise "new railway, new life".

The signs are for the $4.5bn (£3.6bn) Chinese-built Addis-Djibouti standard gauge railway (SGR) connecting landlocked Ethiopia's 100 million people with tiny Djibouti on the Red Sea.

The 750km (465 mile) railway line began operations in January 2018 and is Africa's first electrified cross-border railway.

Trains hit camels

For Ethiopia this is more than just a railway project, it is the crown jewel in the development ambitions of Africa's fastest-growing economy, which aspires to reach middle-income status by the mid-2020s. read more...

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