Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Thursday his government was carrying out the construction of the 1,500-km railway link from the capital, Addis Ababa, to neighbouring Djibouti.
The Ethiopian leader said the railway project remains one of the largest infrastructure expansion projects in the East African region due to be completed in 2016.
The project is expected to cost US$ 6.5 billion to link Addis Ababa to the port of Djibouti.
Ethiopia is currently holding talks with Russia on the release of additional funding for the project.
The country is contributing US$ 1.5 billion from local revenue to fund the project. Ethiopian roads authorities are also investing another US$ 1.5 billion in the construction of 2,787 kms of roads.
“We are the only country in the region carrying out an infrastructure project involving the construction of the railways of such a magnitude,” Hailemariam said, when asked by Members of Parliament about the delay in the construction of the railway link.
He said 50% of the railway project is complete and the rest will be complete by 2016.
A Turkish firm is conducting a section of the construction works for the Northern city of Makelle to Addis Ababa while a Chinese firm is allocated the 700-km section from Makelle to Awash, near Djibouti.
Hailemariam said the release of the funding for the project was partly affected by the global financial crisis but said talks were underway for more funding from external sources.