The new African Union (AU) headquarters building, an international style skyscraper and conference hall, dominates the Addis Ababa skyline. It was built as a ‘gift’ to Africa by the Chinese government at a cost of $200 million. It was constructed following the transition from the original Organization of African Unity (OAU) to the AU and was to symbolise a new integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.
The 100-metre high administrative office tower overlooks a vast conference hall where African leaders meet annually. The tower is lavishly clad in beige granite with particular attention to vertical fins to control low angle sun paths. The conference centre resembles two hands in embrace, signifying the friendship between Africa and China.
The AUCC is was conceived as part of a transformative political project of Pan-African renaissance, though ultimately it stands as a colossal material reminder of the AU’s continued reliance on the outside world.
Photo: Dr Daniel Mulugeta Gebrie