The second Road Safety Leadership Program organized by the Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP, an international partnership hosted by the World Bank), in collaboration with the African Development Bank, kicked off at the Bank's Headquarters in Abidjan on 4th February.
The program, which runs till 8th February, is intended to develop leadership capabilities in road safety planning, implementation, management, and operations; and ultimately help reduce the number of road crashes on the roads of Africa. High-level specialists from the SSATP, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and academia, will share their experiences on improving road safety through practical examples and best practices.
Growing vehicle ownership and rapid urbanization across the continent are factors which have increased the incidence of road accidents. The ensuing socio-economic impacts are harming the continent's development. The economic loss caused by road crashes in Nigeria, for example, is estimated at 3% of the country's GDP. For Morocco, the GDP loss is estimated at 2.5%. Furthermore, deaths and injuries affect countless families and friends of crash victims. Nearly 50% of the victims are pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists, who are exposed to multiple hazards and often chaotic conditions on Africa's roads. The grief and distress experienced due to the loss of life or quality of life could be prevented by systematic and appropriate solutions from governments and societies.
Both the SSATP and the African Development Bank recognise the need for investment in sustainable road safety facilities. The SSATP promotes road safety management at the national level through the creation of dedicated lead agencies for effective road safety, national road safety strategies with time-bound targets actionable by different stakeholders, and a road crash database system for evidence-based road safety interventions.
Road safety – from design to operation - is one of the priority cross-cutting areas in the Bank's Infrastructure and Urban Development Department. A recent report commissioned by the Bank assesses road safety measures in Bamako, Mali.
"Our contribution to this important SSATP event is an effective way for the Bank to engage with its regional member countries to bring about positive changes and sustainable effects which contribute to Africa's development and improve the lives of African people," said Girma Bezabeh, road safety specialist at the African Development Bank.
"More than 300,000 people lose their lives every year on the roads of Africa and the situation is getting worse. The SSATP has a mission to reverse the trend. The Road Safety Leadership Program can help to strengthen the region's capacity for handling road safety challenges while building a network of peers and champions who can advocate for, and support, road safety interventions at the regional, national and municipal levels," said Tawia Addo-Ashong, senior transport and road safety specialist at the SSATP.
This program is being attended by senior representatives of African ministries of transport, health, interior, and national road safety agencies, African sub-regional and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and stakeholders from eight African countries: Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
(With Inputs from APO)