Free gift? China extends influence in Africa with $32M grant for regional HQ

The African Union building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was also a gift from China. It cost $200 million to build and was handed over in 2012.

(CNN)China raised eyebrows this month by announcing it will give the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) a $31.6 million grant to build a new headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria.

Accepting the grant, the president of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Brou, thanked China and confirmed the organization's commitment to promoting future ECOWAS-China cooperation. A press release said that Brou called this a mark of goodwill from China. 
But critics questioned the Asian economic powerhouse's motives for the donation, which positions it at the center of West African politics.
African, right, and Chinese workers, left, build railway track sections for the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line in Tsavo, Kenya.