Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 75 ›› Issue (6): 1170-1184.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202006006

• Case Studies in the Belt and Road Region • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Institutional-economic-cultural adaptability of overseas railway construction: A case study of Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway

WANG Chengjin1,2, XIE Yongshun1,2, CHEN Peiran1,2,3, LI Xumao1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2019-10-07 Revised:2020-04-17 Online:2020-06-25 Published:2020-08-25
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20010101);Key Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(ZDRW-ZS-2017-4)


The development of a country at a certain stage is an outcome of a long-term historical accumulation process, which forms a mutually adaptive state of development among the main national factors such as institution, economic, cultural and technological systems. And the technology transfer breaking through the original level will cause a disorder among the institutional-economic-cultural-technological systems (IECT system), and produce the frictional effect of technology-environment. This paper constructed a conceptual model on the complex system among the institution, economy, culture and technology, and analyzed its major features. Then, we simplified the above model into railway-institution-economic-cultural model (RIEC system) and probed the adaptive mechanism between railway and institutional-economic-cultural system. Furthermore, we explored the institutional-economic-cultural adaptability of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway. This article insists that Ethiopia and Djibouti had not experienced the large-scale industrialization. As an electrified railway, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway is a "spanning transfer" of the technology and there is a misplacement between this railway and the developing stage of Ethiopia and Djibouti. And the construction and operation of this railway brought out an obvious challenge for the institutional-economic-cultural development of these two countries, which resulted in the inadaptability of local institutional, economic and cultural system, and the unbalance of RIEC system. This study can provide a scientific guidance for China's enterprises to construct railways and spread China's railway standard in the world especially in the less-developed countries.

Key words: railway technology, spanning transfer, balance system, adaptability, Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway