Article 5 in SSATP Newsletter No 9 – April 2012
Stabilization and reduction of Africa's acute road safety problems can be achieved through development and implementation of focused, pragmatic, bold and cost-effective mitigation strategies. According to the World Health Organization data for 2009, the number of people killed in road traffic crashes is estimated each year at almost 1.3 million and the number injured could be as high as 50 million...
In absolute numbers, the road-related mortality rate per capita in Africa is the highest in the world at 28.3 deaths per 100,000 at an estimated cost of US$ 3.7 billion. Considering—among other factors—that Africa has only 4% of the world vehicle fleet, the rate of return on investment to reduce crashes is very high in Africa, and there is clearly a strong justification to identify and implement efficient crash reduction measures.
Since the publishing of the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention (April 2004, by WHO and the World Bank), various initiatives and resolutions have been taken. These efforts culminated in the March 2010 UN General Assembly’s resolution proclaiming 2011-2020 to be the Decade of Action for Road Safety (A/64/255). The resolution was co-sponsored by more than 90 countries. In response, WHO and the UN Regional Commissions—in collaboration with the UN bodies and development partners—prepared a Global Plan of Action (GPoA) that will serve as a guiding document for countries to implement the Decade of Action program.
In order to address the continent’s sectoral specificities, the Second African Road Safety conference was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from November 9-11, 2011. It was organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), SSATP and the Government of Ethiopia, in collaboration with the International Road Federation (IRF), the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank. The objectives of the conference were to: (i) examine and validate the African Road Safety Action Plan that would serve as guiding document for the implementation of the Decade of Action; (ii) propose and validate a resource-mobilization strategy and a follow-up mechanism; and (iii) learn from good practices and share experiences.
The African Road Safety Action Plan 2011-2020 is organized under the five pillars of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. These are: (i) Road Safety Management—concerning the institutional framework needed to implement road safety activities, thereby setting the monitoring and evaluation framework of the other pillars; (ii) Safer roads and mobility—concerning road development, the safety of all road-users, especially pedestrians and other vulnerable users; (iii) Safer vehicles—concerning standards, entry, and exit of vehicles into and from countries; (iv) Safer drivers and other road-users—concerning driver training, testing and licensing, driving permits, and enforcement of the driving code, awareness and education of the public, and the development of a safety culture; and (v) Post-crash response—concerning on-site care, transport and trauma care of injured. The Action Plan was adopted at the African Union Conference of African Transport Ministers held on November 21-25, 2011, in Luanda, Angola.
With this context, SSATP—under its Second Development Plan—has commissioned an initiative: (i) to support member countries in developing country-specific road safety strategies in line with the African Road Safety Action Plan; (ii) to identify key mitigation measures that would contribute towards stabilization and reduction of road crashes; and (iii) to work with countries in implementing the mitigation measures. For this purpose, SSATP intends to leverage existing and pipeline investments projects funded by development partners in the road sector to provide additional resources for implementation. The three countries proposed for the initial phase are Ethiopia, Zambia and Cameroon. In addition, the Western Africa Abidjan-Lagos Corridor—which spans five countries—is part of the initiative.