The Ethiopian Government has confirmed that preparations have been finalised to begin the construction of a 5,000km railway system in the country.

Ethiopian Railway Corporation said the railway, stretching in eight directions across the country, will be constructed in two phases.

The government will spend about ETB7bn ($419m) on the first phase of the project, which includes the construction of six railway tracks, of which five will be constructed by local contractors.

The remaining 317km of railway, an extension of the Addis Ababa light train project, will stretch from Addis Ababa to Me’eso town in Afar state and will be constructed by a China-based company.

The construction of the Addis Ababa light train project, is a part of the first phase of construction.