News Brief

Chinese Open New Railway from Djibouti to Ethiopia

The first electric transnational railway in Africa is now running from Djibouti City To Addis Ababa with backing from China.

Today, the first electric transnational railway in Africa went into operation from Djibouti City to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Government officials, diplomats, and socialites, were in attendance for the historic occasion. Also in attendance were Chinese investors, whose 14 billion dollar loan, funded the railway.


The newly functioning line will certainly be of benefit for Djibouti and its landlocked neighbor, as it will help optimize trade by cutting travel time between the two countries. The journey is a three to four days by truck, and just 12 hours via the new rail line.

“This line will change the social and economic landscape of our two countries,” said Ethiopia's prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.

There are many advantages of the newly established rail for both countries, but perhaps even more for China, whose increasing presence in Africa, is helping rebuild infrastructure throughout the continent, but is also raising reasonable suspicion.

"Chinese-built and -financed projects include a two-year-old light-rail system in the Ethiopian capital; a $13 billion rail link between the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and the port city of Mombasa that will open later this year; and an ambitious rail modernization project in Nigeria that includes an urban transit system for Lagos," reports the New York Times.

These investments mean that China will certainly hold leverage over African affairs. While some commend China for "taking a risk on Africa," while most Western countries have noticelbly retreated, I'm not so sure who's really at risk here, China or the African nations that are now heavily indebted to it.

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Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Thandiswa Mazwai to Host 'Play Your Part Africa' Virtual Concert

'King Tha' will commemorate Africa Day with a virtual concert set to take place on May 30th.