First Metro in Sub-Saharan Africa Comes to Ethiopia


Ethiopia has become the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to open a metro network – the first step in an ambitious project to transform the nation’s transport industry.

The recently opened metro means people in the capital of Addis Ababa have a regulated transport system in the city – not only making journeys between districts more accessible, but also connecting people in the suburbs to the city centre.


A more accessible city

While the project has a much larger long-term goal, the impact of the light rail metro already has a profound impact on everyday life for people in Addis Ababa. Until now the main form of transport in the city has been mini vans, which pick people up and drop them off wherever they want to go.

A more reliable transport model makes moving within the city a much easier process, but it’s people living in the suburbs that really benefit. Some 60,000 people now have regular access to the city centre, where many of them work or seek employment – a big deal for commuters in the city.

As Dr Getachew Betru, CEO of Ethiopian Railways Corporation, told CNN: “You would not imagine to have that in a sub-Saharan city”.


A huge step in transport development

The Light Rail Project is a $475m (over £300m) joint venture between Ethiopia and China – the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. It signifies a huge step for Ethiopia and the entire region, with a project that could expand across the nation and into neighbouring countries in the future.

Once fully completed, the light rail metro will be connected to the country’s national rail system, while the long-term goal is to connect Ethiopia with systems in Djibouti, Sudan and Gabon.


Featured image:

Addis Abeba07 (Sam Effron)” by Sam Effron – originally posted to Flickr as [1]. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.