As Ethiopia looks to railway transport to accelerate industrialization, the Ministry of Transport is readying itself with a bill that seeks to establish a regulatory body. According to the bill to be tabled in parliament, the office will mainly be responsible for setting up and auditing standards of safety and tariff levels. It will also be expected to streamline capacity building in the required technologies, as well as licensing issues in the sector.
The regulatory body, with a prior vision to ensure the safety of railway transport, comes a year after the LRT became operational, while the Ethio-Djibouti railway has come to its final chapter before completion. Among the pioneering African countries to have a railway, the Ethio-Djibouti route ceased providing a service in 2008. In the meantime, different advanced lines and technologies have been introduced to revamp the service. The Light Railway System, operational since 2015, is also the only one on the continent.
Currently, there are close to 5,000km of railway routes through eight corridors under study and design, with some already at the implementation stage. The projects include the Addis Abeba-Modjo-Awash-Dire Dawa-Dewanle; Modjo-Shashemne-Arbaminch-Konso-Moyale; Addis Abeba-Ljaji-Jimma-Gudaferda Dima, with extension to South Sudan, and the Awash-Kombolcha-Mekelle-Shire routes.