This year’s Ethiopian New Year, celebrated on September 12th, brought with it added fanfare and excitement in the nation’s capital Addis Ababa where people gathered for the inaugural service of the nation’s first light railway system. With a population of nearly 4 million people, most of whom are reliant on public transport, the city of Addis’ roads have gradually become overwhelmed by the recent traffic congestion. So much so that in 2007, the government of Ethiopia, with the financial support of the China Railway Group Limited (CRGL), set off plans to complete this $474 million project expected to transport as many as 60,000 people a day, with those numbers rising to 100,000 once the entire project is complete. Part of CRGL’s investment included training the drivers and maintenance crew while another Chinese company took on installation of the power system. And while some might argue that this new transport system is likely to be unaffordable for the majority of people in the city, Getachew Betru, CEO of the Ethiopian Railway Cooperation affirms that this endeavor is more a social enterprise than a commercial one. To this end, government subsidizes have made is such that the most a commuter would pay as fare is no more than $0.50 for the longest trip currently available. In truth, this light railway line is not expected to solve all of the city’s transport problems. It will, however, help to alleviate current transport problems while opening up the region to increased economic opportunities. Similar light rail projects are also currently underway in Nigeria and South Africa and will work towards ushering the continent into a new era of modern transportation.