First Chinese tram for Africa completed

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Addis Ababa, 26 August 2014 (WIC) — The first of 41 trams for Ethiopia rolled off the production line on Tuesday in Changchun City, northeast China's Jilin Province.

The tram will be put into service in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa where commuters only have a choice of buses or taxis at the moment, said Liu Gang, a manager with China CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles Co..

"We're bringing about 50 Ethiopian drivers and maintenance workers here for training next month," said Liu.

With a maximum speed of 70km per hour, the white and green vehicle is designed to be impervious to ultraviolet light, since Addis Ababa has an altitude of 2,400 meters and the sun is exceptionally strong. Its windows block 90 percent of ultraviolet rays.

Outside South Africa, Africa's urban rail transport networks are still in their infancy, providing immense opportunities for Chinese manufacturers.

Light railways and tramcars are used in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Only Cairo and Algiers have a subway system.

Some African countries, such as Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, have plans to develop urban rail transport services. (Xinhua)