Nigeria, Africa’s largest country and economy by population and gross domestic products (GDP), loses as much of three percent of her GDP to road crashes, says the African Development Bank (AfDB) which is now leading an initiative to reduce accidents across the continent.
A road safety leadership programme 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 has kicked off at the bank’s headquarters in Abidjan.
In a statement released onTuesday, the AfDB said 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 percent of the country’s GDP,” the bank explained.
It added that, for Morocco, the GDP loss is estimated at 2.5 percent. Furthermore, deaths and injuries affect countless families and friends of crash victims. Nearly 50 percent of the victims are pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists, who are exposed to multiple hazards and often chaotic conditions on Africa’s roads, the bank further revealed.
It indicated that the leadership program is part of the systematic and appropriate solutions from governments and societies that is aimed at preventing the grief and distress experienced due to the loss of life or quality of life.
“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.
According to Tawia Addo-Ashong, senior transport and road safety specialist at the SSATP, 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,” Addo-Ashong said
The program is organized by the Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP, an international partnership hosted by the World Bank) in collaboration with the African Development Bank.
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.
The bank also disclosed that the 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.
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