Ethiopia’s light rail system was built mainly with Chinese money
Addis Ababa has a surprise in store for those who haven’t visited in two years. Cutting through the heart of this booming city where construction cranes are the most persistent feature of the skyline is the Addis Ababa Light Rapid Transit (AALRT) network. It rears up suddenly at Meskel Square which until 2013 gazed out onto an expanse of chaotic traffic. The traffic now bustles beneath the shadow of what is only the second metro ever built south of the Sahara.
On the back of the green and white trains that trundle up and down the line are not one but two logos: the Ethiopian Railways Corporation and next to it the logo of the giant state-owned China Railway Group (CREC).
Nova Cidade de Kilamba a Chinese built city in Angola acquired a reputation as a ghost town after it was largely unoccupied for several years.
Nova Cidade de Kilamba，一个中国在安哥拉建设的城市，因为多年巨大的空置率被冠以鬼城的称号。
How did China get involved in developing an African metropolis that westerners tend to associate with famine and death? And this is just one project among many across the continent. In 2014 alone China signed more than ￡56bn in construction contracts across Africa. Since the turn of the century Chinese firms have built stadiums highways airports schools hospitals and in Angola an entire city that still stands empty. China has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into African governments and infrastructure. In return it has reaped hundreds of billions in commodities.
Few in Africa are certain that there is fair quid pro quo at play here. Is this the dawn of a new colonialism they wonder a new scramble for Africa in which the continent is once again left in tatters? Or is it the beginning of an era during which Africans shake off old colonial masters and look elsewhere for direct investment and aid?
Tazara crossing bridge in Zambia. The line was paid for in full by the Chinese
The Light Railway goes some way to answering these questions. The project dates back to December 2011 when the idea for a 34.25km electrified light railwaysecured funds from Exim Bank of China. Construction for the 39-station project began in 2013 and the metro opened in September 2015 well ahead of schedule.
The line has cost $475m 85% of which was loaned by Chinese policy banks or enterprises. The project was a collaboration between CREC and the Ethiopian Railways Corporation the junior partner while the Shenzen Metro Group and CREC will serve as operations managers for the next five years until a planned handover to the local rail authorities.
Alex Wijaya 14h ago
The west leave Africa in ruin and scowl when the Chinese come and brought prosperity in short time. Sure there are flaws nobody is perfect. The west spent billions of dollars of so called "aid" mainly on their own so called "aid workers" who live like a king in Africa. While the Chinese spent billions of dollars on developing the infrastructure while Chinese managers and engineers are living in spartan life. All so the Africans can get the best bangs for the bucks.