Ethiopia forges road links with neighbours

ADDIS ABABA - Landlocked Ethiopia is forging better road links with its neighbours Sudan and Kenya to ease dependence on the Red Sea port of Djibouti, a government official said yesterday.

ADDIS ABABA - Landlocked Ethiopia is forging better road links with its neighbours Sudan and Kenya to ease dependence on the Red Sea port of Djibouti, a government official said yesterday.

"The road linkage would help landlocked Ethiopia export and import goods through Mombassa and Port Sudan ports at relatively less cost," said Samson Wondimu, public relations head at the Ethiopian Road Authority.

Ethiopia had to pay an extra R210million last year on top of the R6,7billion it pays annually in port fees to Djibouti. The Red Sea port has served as Ethiopia's main sea gateway since it lost Assab and Massawa when Eritrea won independence.

Wondimu said Ethiopia had completed a preliminary study to asphalt the 310km road linking Hager-Mariam with Moyale, the border town with Kenya to the south.

The nation's roads have suffered decades of neglect but the government has said the network's expansion is a top priority. Crumbling or overloaded infrastructure is an obstacle to economic development in many African countries. - Reuters

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