Addis inks $29m deals with China firms for public transport upgrade

By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE

Authorities in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa have inked a deal worth $29.17 million with two Chinese companies to modernise the transport sector, the state-run Ethiopia Press Agency (EPA) reported Tuesday.

The first agreement valued at $15 million will enable the Addis Ababa city government to purchase 110 buses from China’s leading bus maker, Yutong, within eight months.

The city will also integrate digital systems in its public bus transport system among other upgrades at a cost of $14.17 million, according to details in the second agreement. The pact was signed between the Addis Ababa city administration and Chinese Hisense TransTech Co., Ltd.  

The Ethiopian government is investing in the transport and logistics sector with a view to maintaining the country’s economic growth trajectory.

In a 10-year transport sector development plan for the construction of road and rail projects, the country hopes to build up to 1,600 kilometres of roads up from the current 301 kilometres, Road Infrastructure Planning Team Head at the Ethiopian Road Fund, Sadiya Beshir said on Monday.  

Some of the expressways so far built in the country include the Addis Ababa – Adama, Modjo – Hawassa, and Dere Dawa -Dewele.

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“The government of Ethiopia has planned to increase the total length of the express highways in the country to 1,600 kilometres over the coming ten years with a view to expediting the economic and social development of the nation as well as encouraging regional integration,” she said.

The plan emanates from Ethiopia’s grand vision of 2030, which aspires to make the nation one of the symbols of prosperity in Africa, Sadiya said.

“In that regard, we are planning to build additional road infrastructure to connect the country with Djibouti, Eritrea, and Sudan,” she added.

Earlier this month, the national air carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) announced its partnership with Air Djibouti and International Djibouti Industrial Park Operation (IDIPO) to commence sea-air multimodal transportation.

They further indicated that cargo will be transported from Chinese destinations to Djibouti Free Zone by sea and then transported by air from Djibouti International Airport.  

Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs State Minister Redwan Hussien and Assistant Foreign Minister of China Deng Li held the second Ethiopia-China political consultation via teleconference on Wednesday.

The two sides exchanged views on bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues of common concern, further pledging to strengthen their Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership,” the state-run Ethiopian News Agency (RNA) reported.

The two officials said discussions on the Addis Ababa Riverside and Road Projects, including operation and maintenance of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, among others, was a manifestation of commitments of the Ethiopian and Chinese governments to promote practical cooperation between the two countries.

Mr Redwan commended China’s plan to revitalise African economies as expressed in the Dakar-held Forum on China – Africa Cooperation, further requesting China to approve Ethiopia’s proposals to concretise the 9-point areas of cooperation that the Chinese president had proposed at the forum.

The Ethiopian official further urged China to encourage the Government of Sudan to resolve its border dispute with Ethiopia amicably, encourage downstream states of the Nile to continue negotiating under the auspices of the AU, while appreciating the Chinese proposal to support Ethiopia to host a regional level peace conference that promotes peace and stability.

In other development, Chief Administrator of Amhara Regional State, Yilikal Kefale called on the Chinese government to extend its cooperation in the ongoing efforts to rebuild infrastructures and institutions destroyed during the ongoing fighting between Tigray rebels and government forces.

The calls come after a delegation led by Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Zhao Zhiyuan and Amhara Regional governor Yilkal Kefale held discussions focused on the current situation and development activities in the region which has experienced devastation after the Tigray conflict spilt to neighbouring Amhara and Afar states.

Yilikal requested the Chinese government to play its role in the rebuilding activities with a view to strengthening the existing friendship and development partnership between Ethiopia and China.

While noting that China is a strategic partner for Ethiopia, the Chief Administrator further called on the Chinese government to continue its cooperation in the fields of industry, construction, agriculture and other key sectors.

“The relationship between the government and the people of China with Ethiopia is strong not only economically, politically and diplomatically, but also in people to people ties,” he noted.

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