Chinese contractor to build home for Africa’s human rights court

The African Court’s judges in front of its present home (African Court on Human and People’s Rights)
A subsidiary of China Railway Group has won a contract to build the headquarters of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights in Tanzania, the East African newspaper reports.

CRJE (East Africa) will build the $26m project on a 24ha site in the northern city of Arusha. Some $4m of the cost will be met by the host country, with the remainder to be raised by the court’s “partners”.

The project, which is expected to be completed in 2025, is the latest eye-catching civic scheme to be carried out by China for pan-African organisations and individual countries.

These include gifts such as the $200m African Union Conference Centre in Addis Ababa and Zimbabwe’s $100m parliamentary building, which followed similar donations to Mozambique, Lesotho, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Malawi.

The African Court, which was established in 1998, has been sited in Arusha since it moved from Addis Ababa in 2007. So far, 34 countries have ratified its protocol.

CRJE has deep roots in the region. It was formed from companies that worked on the 1,860km Tanzania–Zambia (Tazara) railway in the 1970s. It is now based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital, and also works in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda on a range of construction and civil engineering schemes with a total value of around $570m. 

According to consultancy firm Deloitte, Chinese companies were responsible for 31% of African infrastructure projects with a value greater than $50m or more in 2020, compared with 12% in 2013.

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