Ethiopia leads the charge but other Africa countries are also investing heavily in their infrastructure.
Whilst there are a significant number of transportation projects currently taking place in Africa following a concerted push in 2016 to help boost the continents infrastructure by improving road and rail networks, Ethiopia is to date the stand out front-runner.
Ethiopia continues to make huge strides
In part thanks to a huge financial investment from the Chinese as well as their assistance with construction, a new railway line costing US4 billion and measuring a distance of 466 miles was launched in October 2016. The new line runs between the countries capital of Addis Ababa and Djibouti.
The country’s government is however adamant that this is just the start of the construction of their planned newly improved rail network. In fact, by 2020 they intend to help boost the country’s economy by building a further 3,107 miles of rail tracks which will crisscross the country.
When asked about his country’s ambitious plans, Dereje Tefera the communications manager from the Ethiopian Corporation said, “It is a part of trans African railway network so it will give an opportunity for connecting Ethiopia with another neighboring countries and it will minimize the cost of the transport and transport time,”.
Nigeria is also making huge investments in their infrastructure
The previously thriving rail network in Nigeria collapsed in the 1980’s due to poor management, however President Muhammadu Buhari’s is very aware that if his country doesn’t diversify its economy very quickly by focusing on alternative projects such as those in the power and transport sectors, its country’s economy will continue to struggle as global oil prices continue to plunge.
Nigeria recently launched its first new commuter train, linking Abuja (the country’s administrative capital) to Kaduna. The feedback on the new trains has so far been very positive, Bimpe Omotosho a recent passenger said, “We are having a really nice ride, it’s so comfortable there is really no shock you know it’s really smooth. We are enjoying ourselves and the AC is good, we even have movie. It’s really nice,”.
South Africa takes a different approach to improving its transport infrastructure
Approximately 19 million South Africans currently use minibus taxis to travel around the country everyday making it bigger than both trains and buses put together. In fact, 69% of all land based transport is currently made by minibus taxis. Whilst analysts believe the income it brings in could be significantly more if the system was better regulated, which is currently being reviewed, it is already an industry that is estimated to be worth more than US3 billion.
Bonisile Makubalo, the director of corporate affairs at SA Taxi said, “Currently the minibus taxis are accounting for about 68.8 percent of land based transport, which means they are bigger than the buses and trains put together. The industry transports on a day and average of about 19 million passengers, so it is a very sustainable industry but also has a huge impact into the South African economy as well as the local communities,”.
Uber is creating mixed feeling across other parts of Africa
Uber is now operating in a number of African countries, including Ghana and Kenya. There are very mixed feelings about its presence with some impressed by the advanced technology it uses and the fact that it is often now easier for them to get customers, whilst other drivers now feel that they are losing money since the introduction of Uber, this has in fact recently resulted in protests being held across parts of Kenya.
Pictures: house.jumia.com.ng et World Bank