[ 2012-01-29 ]
AU new headquarters opened in Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Jan. 29, GNA- Mr Jia Qinglin,
Chairman of the Chinese People's Consultative
Council, on behalf of President Hu Jintao, on
Saturday afternoon inaugurated a new African Union
Conference and Office Complex building in Addis
Described as the city's tallest building, the
almost 100 meter 20- storey building, which
dominates the skyline of Addis Ababa, was a gift
from the Chinese Government, estimated at a cost
of 200 million dollars to the AU.
Constructed by the China State Construction
Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), within
Sino-African relations, the project is China's
largest-scale aid project for Africa in decades
after the construction of the Tanzania- Zambia
The centre covers a construction area of some
50,000 square meters, and will house a 2,550-seat
big conference hall, a 650-seat medium conference
hall, five press conference rooms and two VIP
rooms, among other facilities.
Ghana's President; John Evans Atta Mills, who
would delivering the keynote address at 18'th
Ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State
and Government, together with leaders of other
countries of the 54-nation continental body,
witnessed the inauguration of the edifice.
After the inaugural ceremony, Chinese Vice
Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng handed over the
golden key of the conference hall and office
complex, to Mr Qinglin, who in turn handed it over
to out-going AU Chairman and President Teodoro
Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, and subsequently to
Dr Jean Ping, the AU Commission Chairman who is
seeking re-election for another four -year term.
Dr Ping in the inaugural address paid tribute to
the founding fathers of the Union and praised the
efforts of his predecessor former Mr Omar Alpha
Konare, who mooted the idea for a new building and
Ethiopian Premier Ato Meles Zenawi for the land
for the complex.
He said the building underscores the relations
between China and Africa, and also represents the
solidarity among nations.
Out-going Africa Union Chairman President Mbasogo,
paid tribute to the Chinese President, noting that
China had been Africa's largest trading partner in
He described the project as reflection of the New
Africa, and emphasised the need for more intra
The African Union Conference Centre Project was
one of the eight measures announced by President
Hu Jintao at the Bejing Summit of the forum on
China Africa Co-operation in 2006.
The project was started in February 2009 and
completed in December 2011. It involved 1,200
Chinese and Ethiopian workers.
Most of the materials used came from China, which
further paid for the furniture to allow what it
called “immediate use of the facility”.
From Benjamin Mensah, GNA Correspondent in Addis
Source - GNA
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