African Union’s Peace and Security Building opens in Ethiopia

11.10.2016 – After four years of construction, Chancellor Angela Merkel has today officially handed over the building in Addis Ababa to the African Union.

Peace and security are dominant issues all over the world – and thus also for the African Union (AU). After four years of construction work the AU’s Peace and Security Building was completed this July, at the organisation’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Chancellor Angela Merkel has now handed over the building officially to the AU. It is a gift from the Federal Republic of Germany to the African partner organisation.

The International Services Department of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH was responsible for the technical and organisational planning. The building was erected on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office in line with international standards for environmentally sound construction and such that it is earthquake-resistant. About 360 staff members of the AU’s Peace and Security Department, who in the past partially had been scattered over several different locations within Addis Ababa or the organisation´s main compound can now work in the same building. The new building comprises 13,500 square metres, which house offices and conference rooms, a library, situation rooms for the early identification of crises and the planning of peace missions, and the plenary hall of the AU’s Peace and Security Council.


        
    
Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking at the opening ceremony of the new AU Peace and Security building.
Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking at the opening ceremony of the new AU Peace and Security building.

        
    
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, together with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel at the opening ceremony of the AU Peace and Security Building in Addis Ababa. Photo: Bundesregierung/Steins. © GIZ
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, together with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel at the opening ceremony of the AU Peace and Security Building in Addis Ababa. Photo: Bundesregierung/Steins.

Most of the companies involved in the construction work were Ethiopian, and local construction materials were used. Materials and experts from Germany were only needed for high-tech features like the ultra-light roof, which is made of a special foil. But this too benefitted specialised Ethiopian companies and their staff: the foreign specialists trained their Ethiopian counterparts how to handle the new materials and passed on their expertise. Building contractor Fitsum Abebe says that by working on this highly modern building, his company was able to demonstrate that it can work to international standards. ‘This is the first earthquake-resistant building in the city. My staff and I have learned a lot and we will use our newly acquired knowledge on future jobs.