Transport in Ethiopia

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A new highway in Ethiopia (2007)

Transport in Ethiopia is overseen by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Over the last seven years, the Ethiopian federal authorities have significantly increased funding for road construction. Road projects now represent around a quarter of the annual infrastructure budget. Additionally, through the Road Sector Development Program (RSDP), the government has earmarked $4 billion to construct, repair and upgrade roads over the next decade.[1]


Addis Ababa Station in the early evening, 2008
  • 681 km (Ethiopian segment of the Addis Ababa - Djibouti Railway), all 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) narrow gauge (1902–2010)
  • At present the railway is under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia, but negotiations are underway to privatize this transport utility.
  • 2 November 2006 - Ineco Spt of Spain was named the preferred choice for supervision and administration of rehabilitation work on the 781 km Ethio-Djibouti Railway for €2.2 million. Consta - an Italian company - will undertake the actual reconstruction at a cost of €40 million (about R360m). Comazar of South Africa has been awarded the 25-year concession. Rails are to be upgraded from 20 kg/m to 40 kg/m, to carry substantially increased loads. A fleet of new locomotives and freight wagons will be brought in by the concessionaire.[2]
  • In 2008, a concrete sleeper plant was constructed in Dire Dawa.
  • In September 2009, Ethiopian Railways Corporation signed a deal with China Railway Engineering Corporation for it to build the new Addis Ababa Light Rail transit.[3]

Road overbridges[edit]

New rail over road overbridges are being built with clearance of 5.4m[4]


An auto transporter passes along a highway in the Lake Beseka region of central Ethiopia
An Anbessa City Bus Service Enterprise bus with DAF chassis at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa
A highway to Hawzen, one of the many new roads built through the governmental Road Sector Development Program (RSDP)

As the first part of a 10-year Road Sector Development Program, between 1997 and 2002 the Ethiopian government began a sustained effort to improve its infrastructure of roads. As a result, as of 2002 Ethiopia has a total (federal and regional) 33,297 km of roads, both paved and gravel. The share of federally managed roads in good quality improved from 14% in 1995 to 31% in 2002 as a result of this program, and to 89% in 2009[5] the road density increased from 21 km per 1000 km2 (in 1995) to 889 km; per 1000 km2 (in 2009) however, this is much greater than the average of 50 km per 1000 km2 for Africa.[6]

The Ethiopian government has begun second part of the Road Sector Development Program, which was completed in 2007. This will involve the upgrading or construction of over 7,500 km of roads, with the goal of improving the average road density for Ethiopia to 35 km per 1000 km2, and reduce the proportion of the country area that is more than 5 km from an all-weather road from 75% to 70%.[7]

The Ethiopian Roads Authority and China Communications Construction Consultancy are presently building a new six-lane expressway between Addis Ababa and Adama (Nazaret). The expressway will be 80 km long, will shorten the Addis to Adama distance by 20 km. To build this expressway will cost Ethiopia US$350 million. The expressway will begin at Ayat, Addis Ababa and end in north part of Adama. 150 km/h is the limited speed at the expressway, the journey will take about 30–40 minutes. The expressway will be completed in 2014.[8][9]

According to the Government of Ethiopia, it has spent over 600 billion birr (USD $50 billion, €30 billion) on infrastructure since 1990.

  • total (regional and federal): 101,359 km[5] (2009)
  • asphalt: 90,336 km[5] (2009) (89% of the roads in Ethiopia is asphalt)
  • gravel: 11,023 km[5] (2009) (11% of the roads in Ethiopia is gravel)
  • maintained by Regional government: 86,580 km (2009)

Major roads include:
No 1: north from Addis Ababa 891 km via Dessie to Adigrat, from Dessie to Weldiya. Designated part of the Ndjamena-Djibouti Trans-African Highway 6 (TAH 6)
No 2: east from Dessie 482 km to Aseb. Designated part of the Ndjamena-Djibouti TAH 6
No 3: north from Addis Ababa across the Blue Nile at Dejen and again at Bahir Dar east around Lake Tana 979 km via Gondar and Aksum to Adwa. Designated part of the Cairo-Cape Town Trans-African Highway 4 (TAH 4) from Addis Ababa to Gondar, and part of TAH 6 from Wereta to Gondar
No 4: east from Addis Ababa 542 km via Dire Dawa to Jijiga
No 5: west from Addis Ababa 322 km to Nekemte
No 6: south from Addis Ababa 797 km via Shashamene to Moyale. Designated part of TAH 4;
No 7: south-west from Addis Ababa 336 km via Waliso (Ghion) and Jimma to Bonga
No 8: south from Adama 193 km via Asella and Dodola to Mogadishu
No 9: south from Addis Ababa via Butajira, Sodo and Arba Minch to Yabelo
No 15: east from Adwa 109 km to Adigrat. Tigray's connection from No 3 to No 1
No 18: north from Awash on No 4 305 km to Mille on No 2
No 30: south-east from Jijiga 696 km across the Ogaden to the Shabelle valley
No 43: south-west from Nekemte 226 km to Metu
No 44: south-east from Shashamene 308 km to Dolo Odo (Doolow)[10]
Wereta-Woldia: 294 km. Amhara's connection from No 3 to No 1. Designated part of the Ndjamena–Djibouti Highway (TAH 6)

Ports and harbours[edit]

Ethiopia is landlocked and was by agreement with Eritrea using the ports of Asseb and Massawa; since the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, Ethiopia has used the port of Djibouti for nearly all of its imports. Only one river, the Baro is used for transport.

Merchant marine[edit]

Total: 12 ships (with a volume of 1,000 gross register tons (GRT) or over) totaling 84,915 GRT/112,634 tonnes deadweight (DWT) (1999 est.); 9 ships (with a volume of 1,000 GRT or over) 81,933 GRT/101,287 DWT (2003 est.)
ships by type: cargo ship 7; container ship 1; petroleum tanker 1; roll-on/roll-off ship 3 (1999 est.), 1 (2003 est.)


Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 757-23N at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa (2008)

There were an estimated 84 airports in 2005, only 14 of which had paved runways as of 2005. The Addis Ababa Airport handles international jet transportation. Before the Ethiopian civil war, the national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, flew to numerous African, Asian, and European cities, and had sole rights on domestic air traffic. In 2003, about 1.147 million passengers were carried on domestic and international flights.

Paved runways

total: 14
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2003 est.)

Unpaved runways

total: 68
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 27
under 914 m: 23 (2003 est.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Infrastructure". Government of Ethiopia. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  2. ^ RailwaysAfrica
  3. ^ Yehualaeshet Jemere, "Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit Project" (slide presentation; last accessed 31 October 2014)
  4. ^ "LOW BRIDGE STYMIES ETHIOPIAN RAIL BUILDERS | Railways AfricaRailways Africa". 2014-02-11. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  5. ^ a b c d Malone, Barry (28 Oct 2009). "Ethiopia earmarks almost $1 billion for roads". 
  6. ^ "Ethiopia - Second Road Sector Development Program Project", p.3 (World Bank Project Appraisal Document, 19 May 2003)
  7. ^ World Bank, "Second Road Sector", p.11
  8. ^ Zenebe, Wudineh (27 June 2009). "Ministry to Sign for 350m dollar Loan from Bank of China for New Road". Addis Fortune. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Addis Adaba Adama (Nazareth) Expressway, Ethiopia". Roadtraffic-technology. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  10. ^ Africa North East, Michelin 2007, Africa North East GeoCenter 1999, Maplandia

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.