ADDIS ABABA, Sept 18 (BERNAMA-NNN-ENA) — Ethiopia is to build Africa’s first railway academy in order to produce the qualified manpower needed to operate the major railway projects being undertaken in the country during the Second growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-2) period which is just underway.
The Economic Affairs Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, Dr. Arkebe Equbay, said here Thursday that agreement had been reached with the Chinese government for the construction of the training centre with aid totalling more than 250 million Yuan (about US$39.3 million ) secured from Beijing.
He said construction of the Mojo-Hawassa railway line would be launched at the beginning of the current GTP period along with the Mojo Industrial Park which was already under construction.
Preparations were also underway to construct the railway line to link Tadjourah Port in neighbouring Djibouti with Bahir Dar, in land-locked Ethiopia’s Amhara Region (Province), via Asaita-Weldiya, during the GTP-2 period, Arkebe said.
The Sebeta-Addis Ababa-Jimma-Bedele, and Hawassa-Shashamane-Arbaminch lines are also part of the railway projects to be built under GTP-2, he added.
The special adviser stated that contractors for the mega projects were being sought and Chinese companies which had track records in executing railway projects successfully would also be invited to take part in the bidding.
Dr Arkebe noted that the country needed a railway training institute to produce qualified personnel for the big railway projects it would undertake.
He said Ethiopia has so far been sending students for such training overseas, and the railway academy would save hard currency and empower citizens. The railway academy will also serve as a centre for other African countries.