Ethiopia PM says China will restructure railway loan

China has agreed to restructure a loan that financed the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway which handles cargo from The Port of Doraleh. (Reuters)
Updated 06 September 2018
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Ethiopia PM says China will restructure railway loan

  • Ethiopia has been a top destination for Chinese loans in Africa, with state policy banks extending it more than $12.1 billion since 2000
  • The Addis Ababa link with Djibouti handles roughly 95 percent of all inbound trade for Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA: China has agreed to restructure some of Ethiopia’s debt, including a loan for a $4 billion railway linking its capital Addis Ababa with neighboring Djibouti, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday.
Abiy described the rescheduling as limited, but added that repayment of the railway debt has been extended by 20 years.
Landlocked Ethiopia and the Red Sea state inaugurated the railway in January, with 70 percent of the total cost covered through a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM).

Stations along the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway. (Wikimedia Commons)

Ethiopia has been a top destination for Chinese loans in Africa, with state policy banks extending it more than $12.1 billion since 2000, according to the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University of the United States.
Speaking upon his return from a China-Africa forum for cooperation in Beijing, Abiy told reporters he held successful talks with Chinese government officials over his country’s debt.
“During our stay, we had the opportunity to enact limited restructuring of some of our loans,” he said in Addis Ababa. “In particular, the loan for the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway which was meant to be paid over 10 years has now been extended to 30 years.”
The deal was made amid rising concerns over debt distress, with the Ethiopian government’s debt reaching 59 percent of the country’s annual gross domestic product, according to official figures.
The country’s ruling EPRDF coalition, in power since ousting a military junta in 1991, aims for Ethiopia to reach middle income status by 2025. It is pursuing ambitious manufacturing-led industrialization that has involved building roads, railways and industrial parks — as well as mounting debt.
Though the Addis Ababa link with Djibouti, which handles roughly 95 percent of all inbound trade for Ethiopia, is complete, the line’s extension to its north has faced delays owing to a lack of funding.
In addition to Djibouti, Ethiopia is also in discussions with neighboring Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia to expand its options for sea access. It has negotiated deals with Djibouti and Sudan to hold equity in their ports.


11 dead, 50 rescued after India building collapse

Updated 4 min 33 sec ago
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11 dead, 50 rescued after India building collapse

  • Many firms use cheap materials and bribe officials to evade regulations, while on-site safety is lax
  • Police have charged the builder with manslaughter but he remains free

NEW DELHI: Eleven people were confirmed dead on Thursday three days after a building under construction in southern India caved in, officials said.
Building collapses are frequent in India. Many firms use cheap materials and bribe officials to evade regulations, while on-site safety is lax.
Around 400 rescuers have been scouring through tons concrete and steel after the latest tragedy in Karnataka state on Tuesday.
Fifty-three people have been rescued from the rubble of the five-story building in Dharwad district, but three more bodies were pulled out on Thursday.
“At least 15 people are possibly still under the debris and it’s unlikely they will survive,” emergency official Srikant, who goes by one name, told AFP.
Heavy earth-movers and rescuers with specialized equipment and sniffer dogs were deployed in the increasingly desperate operation.
The victims were mostly from northern Indian states who came to the region for work.
Police have charged the builder with manslaughter but he remains free, with investigators saying he will be arrested after the rescue operation is over.
Last September, five people were killed after a Delhi apartment block collapsed. Months earlier, a six-story building in the capital had given way, killing nine.
Millions of Indians, who will vote in elections in April and May, live in dilapidated old buildings, many of which are susceptible to collapse during rain.