The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway was once the greatest rail line in Africa. Built by France in the 1910s, it ran more than 450 miles from landlocked Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to the neighboring coastal country Djibouti. Yet the line fell into ruin. Soon a new, $4-billion rail line, designed and financed by China, will take its place. Chinese officials say the line will eventually grow into a 3,000-mile rail network that stretches across neighboring Sudan, South Sudan and Kenya, bringing economic growth to the impoverished region.

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