ADDIS ABABA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese-built Ethiopia-Djibouti railway has seen the passing of 1,824 passenger trains with the transportation of nearly 530,900 passengers during its five and half years of operation, an Ethiopian government official disclosed Friday.
Alemu Sime, minister of Transport and Logistics, made the remarks while addressing a high-level meeting themed "China-Ethiopia Building Belt and Road." The roundtable meeting brought together senior Ethiopian government officials, Chinese diplomats in Ethiopia, officials from the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway Share Company, heads of different think tanks, as well as media leaders, among others.
The Ethiopian minister said the 752.7-km Ethiopia-Djibouti standard gauge railway, also known as the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, is a landmark railway line connecting Ethiopia and Djibouti and a flagship project under the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, and an important early harvest of China-Africa cooperation.
He said the railway has played an important role in promoting the economic and social development of Ethiopia and improving people's living standards.
Since the official opening of commercial operation in January 2018, the railway has operated 1,824 passenger trains with nearly 530,900 passengers, and 6,133 cargo trains with about 7,328,500 tonnes of cargo, Sime said.
According to the minister, the railway's total operating revenue has been also maintaining an average annual growth rate of more than 35 percent, vividly illustrating the high quality of jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative.
"The Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway is not only a transportation line, but also an economic corridor and a road to prosperity. It has opened up a railroad corridor to the sea for Ethiopia, effectively driving the development of industrialization and urbanization along the route," he said.
Noting that the railway has assisted Ethiopia in transporting more than 100,000 tonnes of fertilizer and wheat as well as other urgent supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sime said "the railway effectively assures the supply of livelihood and agricultural supplies in Ethiopia, demonstrating its great value."
Sime, in particular, singled out the experience-sharing mechanism for enabling Ethiopian and Djiboutian youth with electrified-railway technologies.
"What I appreciate more is that the Chinese team also upholds the concept of 'Better teach a man how to fish than give him fish,' and passes on Chinese railway expertise to the people of Ethiopia and Djibouti without reservation," he said.
During the construction and operation of the project, the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway has provided 55,000 jobs for Ethiopia and Djibouti, and trained more than 3,000 railway professionals, laying a solid foundation for the development of the railway industry in Ethiopia and Djibouti, according to Sime. ■