The Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) Executive Secretary, Mr. Claver Gatete, underlined the necessity of assistance in establishing road safety management in Africa in order to address the continent’s high rate of traffic accidents.
Gatete voiced concern that Africa’s high rate of traffic accidents was impeding the continent’s progress. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Africa has a road traffic fatality rate of 26.6 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to lower rates in other regions.
Gatete raised alarm over the disproportionately high rate of road traffic deaths in Africa, despite the continent having only a small percentage of the world’s vehicle fleet.
He highlighted a 15% increase in road traffic fatalities between 2019 and 2020. Gatete made these remarks at the United Nations Partnership Meeting for Road Safety, which serves as a platform for sharing experiences and efforts to reduce road injuries and fatalities worldwide.
The 2023 WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety revealed that approximately 1.19 million people die each year due to road traffic crashes, with road traffic injuries being the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5 to 29.
Gatete emphasized that road safety management is crucial in reducing road deaths but remains a significant challenge in Africa.
Research conducted by the ECA and the African Union Commission (AUC) showed that only 22% of the measures outlined in the African Road Safety Action Plan (2011-2020) were implemented.
ECA has focused its technical assistance and advisory services on Road Safety Management for African countries and organizations. Gatete urged the UN Road Safety Fund (UNRSF) to allocate more resources to projects in Africa due to the severity of road safety issues on the continent.
He also appealed to UN organizations to improve the reliability of road safety data in Africa by supporting the Africa Road Safety Observatory (ARSO). Gatete emphasized the lack of reliable data on road safety in Africa and urged the implementation of ARSO for evidence-based decision-making.
He called for UN organizations to support the digitalization of road safety in Africa, emphasizing the need for capacity building, technical assistance, research, and financial support.
The 2023 WHO Global Status Report also highlighted that 92% of global road traffic fatalities occur in low- and middle-income countries, with road traffic crashes costing countries approximately 3% of their GDP.