The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) organized a short walk in the Kazanchis neighbourhood of Addis Ababa on Saturday 22 May, to mark the 6th United Nations Road Safety Week.
This year’s road safety week run from 17 to 23 May and was marked under the slogan “Streets for Life” – a call for 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limits to be the norm for cities, towns and villages worldwide.
Speaking at the event, Robert Lisinge, Chief of the ECA’s Energy, Infrastructure and Services Section, highlighted that speed contributes to about 30 percent of deaths on the roads and that speed was a factor in over 50 percent of road crashes in Africa.
He noted that “the occupant of a car hit side-on at 65 km/h has only a 15 percent chance of surviving that collision.” Mr Lisinge also stated that the survival chance of a pedestrian involved in a crash decreases the higher the speed hence this year’s campaign is focusing on speed management.
“At a collision speed of 45km/h, survival chance is less than 50 percent while it is 90 percent at a collision speed of 30km/h,” he added.
Stephen Karingi, Director of the ECA’s Regional Integration and Trade Division, took part in the walk along with other senior AUC and ECA officials.
He noted that the UN Road Safety Week was important not only for the week but every day to help stimulate community involvement in promoting road safety awareness.
The ECA and the AUC also organised a continental workshop on 19 May 2021 to validate Africa’s Road Safety Action Plan for the Decade 2021-2030. The meeting was part of activities organised by the two institutions to mark the Road Safety Week.
The institutions are encouraging their member States to ratify the African Road Safety Charter as the continent works to reduce the carnage on its roads. Namibia is the only country on the continent that has ratified the Charter so far.
Road safety remains a major challenge in Africa despite efforts at the global and continental levels. The risk of death from road traffic injury is as high as 26.6 per 100,000 compared to 17.0 in South-East Asia and 9.3 per 100,000 in Europe. In Uganda, road crash fatalities rose by 25.9 percent from 2,597 to 3,503 between 2007 and 2016; 10 people are killed per day in road traffic crashes, the highest in East Africa; and 24 people are killed per 100 road crashes in the country. In Cameroon, 16,583 road crashes and 1500 deaths are recorded on average each year; and the risk of road death per 100,000 people is estimated by the World Health Organisation at 27.