By Staff Reporter
Addis Ababa, 17 August 2022 (ECA) – Director of the Division of Administration of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Carlos Haddad signs off on the main renovation contract for the Africa Hall Project to upgrade its structural and technological facilities, to ensure it complies with international standards and conference facilities. The renovation project will also see the creation of a visitors centre and permanent exhibition to make Africa Hall one of the leading destinations in Addis Ababa and highlight its significant role in modern African history and culture. As part of preserving and restoring the historical and cultural values embedded in its architecture.
“This renovation project is part of a broader campaign by the United Nation to modernize its facilities to enhance technological endowment, upgrade functionality and ensure uniformity in safety and security standards” says Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Antonio Pedro. The Africa Hall Renovation Project will span 22 months and includes the full renovation of the building, its ancillaries, a new security building and a parking lot for visitors.
The ECA has set up a dedicated office to manage the implementation of the project, counting on an independent Advisory Board, a Stakeholder Committee and United Nations Headquarters oversight. The management is based on a participative approach, looking for a wide and continuous consultation which involves both professionals as well as institutions representing civil society.
Voluntary contributions from private, public and other stakeholders to enhance and enrich the project are also welcome. Donations may be in cash such as the one provided by Government of Mali or in kind, such as the land donated by the Host Government, a commemorative book pledged by Italy or documents or memories related to Pan-Africanism.
The initial purpose of the building was to create a paramount place for African art and culture. Along its lifetime, “Africa Hall became a famous landmark venue for pan-African and African Renaissance events. It is 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” says Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the ECA Vera Songwe, reflecting on the significance of Africa Hall. This moment which has been immortalized by a 150-square-meter stained glass window artwork located in the foyer of the Hall, depicting the founding fathers of the OAU.
Since its inception more than fifty years ago, Africa Hall has been a living symbol of African history, unity and culture. It also represents one of the most prominent examples of African architectural heritage. The Hall, which is the first of a collection of twenty buildings making up the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) compound, was conceived and donated by the Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie in the early 1960s. Thereby representing one of the most prominent examples of African architectural heritage.