Chinese-built Ethiopia light rail transports more than 29 mln people in 9 months

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Photo taken on Sept. 20, 2015 shows a train operating on the light rail in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The electrified AA-LRT was the first light railway on the African continent with two lines of a total length of 34 km. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Chinese-built 34-km Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (AALRT) network has transported more than 29 million people in just nine months, the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport (MoT) announced on Wednesday.

In a report submitted to Ethiopian parliament, MoT said the AALRT has earned around 3 million U.S. dollars transporting more than 29 million passengers in Addis Ababa during the first nine months of the current Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2018/19, which started July 8.

Commissioned in September 2015, AALRT is the first light railway in Africa built at a cost of 475 million U.S. dollars, with 85 percent of funding coming from the Export-Import Bank of China.

The rail project was constructed by China Railway Engineering Corporation Limited (CREC) and is currently operated by Chinese firm Shenzhen Metro Group Company.

It is estimated that AALRT currently transports about 60,000 people daily, significantly reducing traffic congestion in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, home to around 4 million residents.

The Ethiopian government said the project had created 13,000 jobs.

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