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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The heavens open and the rain rinses the street of the dry dust accumulated from the nearby construction site on the edge of Bole Ring Road in the Ethiopian capital.Addis Ababa is booming: scaffoldings jigsaw the skyline, and trendy cafés flank newly built roads. Within an intricate web of government repression and economic intervention, there is one common thread in Ethiopia's rapid growth over the last 10 years.“The Chinese - they're building everything," says Charra Tesfaye, a lecturer in international trade law at the University of Makele in northern Ethiopia.The 4.3km Bole Road, built by the Chinese for $60mn, is just a pittance of the funds China has spent in Ethiopia.Chinese and Turkish contractors are constructing a 5,000km railway network that will link the entire country, including neighbouring Djibouti, to Addis Ababa. The $3.2bn project is likely to shift the economic logic of the region, as landlocked Ethiopia will be henceforth given a route to the coast.Such is the frenetic pace of the project that a 1,800km stretch is expected to be complete by 2015.Ethiopia, however, is not the sole recipient of aid, loans or developmental assistance from China. The country is fourth on a long list - behind Ghana, Nigeria and Sudan - among the top African beneficiaries of Chinese largesse.Since 2002, China has invested an estimated $75bn on the continent, hot on the heels of the United States, which invested $90bn during the same period. The US might still hold the edge over China on investment, but the Chinese replaced the US as Africa's biggest trade partner in 2009.