By Xinhua writer Wang
Xiangjiang ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) --
The inauguration of a Chinese-built
Ethiopia-Djibouti railway in Africa is a vivid proof
that China is walking the talk, sharing one of the key
lessons it has gained following decades of reform and
opening up to the outside world.
That is, as
the Chinese saying goes, if you want to be rich, build
centuries, backward infrastructure has been hampering
economic growth on the African continent. Africans’
dream to connect their capitals with high-speed railways
once appeared unreachable.
today. Africa’s first modern electrified railway linking
Ethiopia and Djibouti’s capitals was inaugurated on
Wednesday, reducing the journey time from seven days by
road to 10 hours.
inception, landlocked Ethiopia has more efficient access
to the sea. Industrial parks are being established at
key cities along the railway, creating jobs, speeding up
urbanization, and igniting people’s desire to create and
prosper. Djibouti has now come closer to realizing its
ambition to become a regional shipping and logistics
railway projects using Chinese standard gauge are
underway in Kenya, Chad, Nigeria, Angola and others.
projects spark hopes for economic prosperity, more jobs
and better lives.
to 1970s, despite its own difficult economic conditions,
China were resolved to support the construction of the
Tazara railway at the request of Tanzania and Zambia.
The Tazara railway has since become a symbol of
following decades witnessed the emergence of China as
the world’s second largest economy, with its ever
steadily improving infrastructure providing a powerful
years, China has been working hard to share its
development experience with its African friends. Chinese
leaders have promised to help Africa build the Three
Major Networks—railways, roads and regional aviation.
sincerely hopes that Africa will get rid of the
bottleneck of inadequate infrastructure and embark on a
path of independent, sustainable development.
African countries have been following different gauge
standards of Western countries, they are not in a
position to form an integrated railway network.
Gradually, more and more African countries have found
that China’s railway standards better fit Africa’s
Ethiopia-Djibouti railway’s inauguration has set an even
better example for other African countries.
we hear that Africa must bridge the gap in
infrastructure. Too often, we are told why it can’t be
done,” said Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh at
the inauguration ceremony.
It is still
remembered that China extended a helping hand when
Western powers turned down Tanzania and Zambia’s request
for funds for the Tazara railway.
the official planning for the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway,
Western railway experts invited by the Ethiopian
government had drawn a conclusion that constructing an
electrified railway would be mission impossible in a
country with such poor infrastructure.
can say without doubt that our partner, in this endeavor
and in many others, the People’s Republic of China, has
stood by us and has been instrumental in the
infrastructural transformation of Africa,” said
ago, Chinese constructors built the Tazara railway with
sweat, blood and life. Today, a new generation of
Chinese railway builders are blazing a path for an even
better future for both China and Africa.