The Standard Gauge Railway appears to be providing revolutionary infrastructure to stimulate economic growth, but the details demand scrutiny.
The project cost nearly $4.5 billion, partly financed by the China Export-Import Bank.
Under Mao, China’s backed African liberation movements in an effort to advance Maoism and offset Soviet and American influence.
In much of Africa today, China is the imperialist power.
China lent nearly $125 billion to Africa between 20 and recently pledged $60 billion at the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Co-operation.
The Chinese superficially appear to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with Africa by providing financial and technical assistance to Africa’s pressing developmental needs.
The railway was Ethiopia’s first railway in over a century and Africa’s first fully electrified line.
The railways cuts travel time from the capital Addis Ababa to Djibouti from two days by road to twelve hours.
The railway uses Chinese trains, Chinese construction companies, Chinese standards and specifications, and operated by the China Railway Group Limited (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
As might be expected from this Sino-imperialist project, the railway has been plagued with technical and financial challenges, which calls into question Ethiopia’s dependence on Chinese technology and debt-finance.