Addis Ababa, 15 October 2022 (Walta) – The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) unveils the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the iconic Africa Hall Renovation Project on Friday 14 October 2022.
The renovation is a milestone project “aimed to modernize and rejuvenate a landmark pan-Africanism and a symbol of continental renaissance’, said Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa.
Dr. Moniques also outlined the historical significance of the Africa Hall, which was inaugurated in 1961 and has hosted several important meetings in the history of Pan-Africanism, including the liberation of Africa from colonialism. It is also the birthplace of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which is now the African Union (AU), and whose founding Charter was signed in the Hall in 1963.
“The Africa Hall was conceived to accompany the continent’s unity and mostly importantly while Africans were struggling for freedom and independence from colonialism… In this hall, what looked a dream of a few leaders became reality in February 1963.’
The African Hall was conceived and donated by the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, to serve as the headquarters of ECA, with the vision of attracting the UN to Africa and uniting the African Nations. This is also a hall where African leaders and independence protagonists gave speeches and deliberated on the future of the continent.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma, FDRE’s State Minister for Political and Economic Public Diplomacy, remarked that the Africa Hall is not only a historic building with unique physical features and creative art works, it is also a place where pan-Africanism took on institutional shape and concrete mandates with the creation of the Organization of African Union.
The state minister also marked the renovation of the hall preserves Africa’s invaluable heritages shows Ethiopia’s recommitment to ‘work tirelessly for Africa’s integration, unity and prosperity.’
The aim of the Renovation Project is to transform Africa Hall to a rejuvenated facility, state-of the-art conferencing place in Addis Ababa. In addition to preserving and restoring the historical and cultural values embedded in its architecture, the renovations also aims to include a permanent exhibition to make the hall one of the leading destinations in the city and highlight its significance in modern African history and culture.
In 2015, the UN General Assembly approved the budget of $57 million for the project. The renovation project was funded by the 193 member states.
The Hall is expected to re-open mid-2024.