The Africa CDC headquarters row has also pulled in the US and has become a regional sideshow to the larger and more public spat between Washington and Beijing over the WHO.

South Africa has been urged to use its clout to stop the African Union Commission pushing ahead with its plans to allow China to build a new $80bn headquarters building for the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in Addis Ababa – without AU member states’ official approval.

Some member states have expressed concern that the commission has short-circuited proper approval processes in a rush to get the headquarters built. The Africa CDC is leading Africa’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic and diplomats say it is only the distraction of that huge mission which has prevented the building being erected already.

Some countries believe that Morocco, which is also bidding to host the centre, is better equipped technically to support it than Ethiopia.

But already in early February the AU Commission – the permanent secretariat of the AU, based in Addis Ababa – was announcing that “the cornerstone has already been laid” for the new headquarters building.

And diplomats in Addis Ababa say…

Read the full story on Daily Maverick.
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