Railway projects building local capacity, says Ethiopian Railways Corporation

Railway projects being executed in Ethiopia are building local capacity to manage similar projects in the future, said the Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC).

Ethiopians are benefiting from skill and technology transfer from railway projects being built by foreign contractors, Doctor Engineer Getachew Betru, CEO of Ethiopian Railways Corporation told FBC Thursday.

A number of Ethiopians are taking part in the drilling of huge tunnels with more than 3km length and a height of 150m at the Mekele-Woldia-Hara Gebeya railway project, the CEO said.

However, there is still a gap in the participation of Ethiopians in the designing of mega projects, including railway. In order to bridge the gap, all universities are being made to take part in these projects, he said.

The efforts launched to fully replace foreigners with Ethiopians in railway projects that have gone operational are paying off, said Dr. Eng. Getachew, citing the Addis Ababa light railway transit as a case in point.

The participation of Ethiopians in Addis Ababa light rail was only 48 percent but the number is increasing now. Efforts will be made to fully substitute all foreign management with Ethiopians in the coming two years, he said.

Moreover, all foreign tram drivers at the Addis Ababa light rail transit will be replaced by Ethiopians as of September, he added.

The Addis Ababa-Meisso-Dewele railway project, scheduled to begin operation after two months, will be run by foreigners for six years. After six years, it will be the role of Ethiopians to manage the line, he added.

The Addis Ababa-Meisso-Dewele railway line is more than 98 complete now and expected to begin operation after two months, while the Mekele-Woldia-Hara Gebeya project, whose construction launched a year ago, is over 36 percent complete and expected to go functional after two years.

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