China signs deal with AU to connect Africa’s big cities
The African Union-China deal to connect Africa has been hailed as “the most substantive project the AU has ever signed with a partner”.
Africa is a vast continent where it must be possible to travel without transiting via Paris or London
The memorandum of understanding was signed at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
“This is the document of the century … the aviation agreement marks a new area for co-operation between the AU and China,” Zhang Ming, Chinese vice-minister for foreign affairs, told reporters after the signing ceremony.
Although China is already involved in a raft of transport infrastructure projects, AU chief, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma praised the commitment of the AU and China to develop the continent’s transportation infrastructure.
Air travel is nightmarish for Africans, as they sometimes have to travel to Europe to connect to another nation in Africa.
When the AU-China project is complete, major African cities from Addis Ababa and Nairobi in the east, to Johannesburg in the south and Abuja in the west, will be connected by highways, high speed railways, and new international airports.
“Africa is a vast continent where it must be possible to travel without transiting via Paris or London,” Ming added.
The deal comes as leaders of the 54-nation pan-African bloc prepare to meet on Friday.