Written by ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua)

The African Union (AU) has on Tuesday held a topping out ceremony for its Chinese-built Integrated Service Center under construction on the premises of its headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

The Integrated Service Center Project, now close to completion, is a building consisting of three floors, each covering about 5,000 sq meters. The centre includes among others things, an accreditation facility, a cafeteria and the AU archives and exhibition center.

Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), lauded the newly inaugurated expansion project as a vivid indication of the ever increasing China-Africa partnership.

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Once completed, the provision of several facilities and services in the new service center will improve AU’s conference operations, he said. “This is among the many projects that China has constructed in addition to the magnificent AU headquarters project,” he said, “China is a special friend for Africa.”

Kwesi also expressed his expectation saying that “China will further continue to support Africa in several ways including capacity development, and modernization.”

The signing of the integrated service center project was made during the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s official visit to Ethiopia in 2014. Kuang Weilin, Head of Chinese Mission to AU, said on the occasion that once completed the new building will further improve AU’s conference centre and its operations. AU had previously inaugurated its headquarters worth 200 million U.S. dollars back in 2012. The 100-meter high structure Addis Ababa, funded and built by China, is the tallest building in Ethiopia.

According to Kuang, the AU headquarters complex which was inaugurated with great fanfare at the presence of African heads of state and senior officials highlights the friendship between the peoples of China and Africa.

“The integrated service center once again testifies China’s strong commitment to work closely with the African Union,” he said.