The birthplace of Organization of African Union (OAU), Africa Hall to be renovated at the cost of $57 million
The Economic Commission for Africa and Ethiopia on Friday signed an agreement marking the beginning of renovations to modernize the iconic Africa Hall, the birthplace of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union. Ethiopia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hirut Zemene and ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, signed the agreement to pave way for the 57 million US dollars renovations that will see the modernization of the hall’s facilities to international standards.
Songwe thanked the government of Ethiopia and UN staff for working tirelessly to ensure repairs to transform Africa Hall into a rejuvenated facility as well as preserving and restoring historical and cultural values embedded in its architecture take place. “We are 60 years later into that decision to construct Africa Hall and its beautiful artwork. A lot has happened in 60 years in our countries and on our continent,” she said, adding Africa Hall has a lot of history as Ethiopia has for itself and the continent.
Songwe said the renovations would bring state-of-the-art technology to Africa Hall and ensure it serves more African citizens than before. “This is not just about signing a piece of paper, it’s a continuation of the history that the United Nations family has with the government of Ethiopia, that the continent of Africa has with Ethiopia,” she said.
Songwe applauded African Ambassadors in Ethiopia who sit on the Africa Hall renovations committee, adding their interest shows how important the hall is in terms of the continent’s history. For her part, Hirut said Ethiopia will work with the ECA to ensure the project is delivered on time. The two leaders said they were both committed to ensuring there were no slippages so the transformed Africa Hall is delivered on schedule in 2021.
“Today we are celebrating the more than 60 years of service that Africa Hall has given to the African continent,” she said, adding the project will encourage African youth to learn more about their history, especially the decision by pan-African leaders to work together and speak as one with the formation of the OAU.
“I would also like to give special tribute to our leader Emperor Haile Selassie for being conscious of the importance of coming together as a continent back then,” said Hirut. She promised Ethiopia’s support throughout the renovation project.