The continent has the worst death rate from road crashes compared to the level of motorization, a road safety workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has observed.
Available statistics show an estimated 161 deaths per 10,000 vehicles for accidents in some African countries.
Road crashes have also been noted as the second leading cause of death of those between the ages of 5 to 44 years around the world and Africa has been identified as the region where 50% of the population is below the age of 16.
The workshop organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Ethiopian government stated that road accidents claim 1.3 million lives per annum.
“The majority of these deaths – about 70 percent- occur in developing countries – the figures for our continent are worse!,” Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of UNECA said in a speech read on his behalf.
“The price in terms of human loss, grief and care is immense; as a result, there is a direct link between road safety improvement and poverty reduction. And the theme for this year captures the essence of this by saying that: “Safer Roads for Africa’s Sustainable Development’’, he said.
The workshop drew attention to the fact that the combination of high number of vulnerable road users, poor vehicle condition, under-developed infrastructure, lack of risk awareness, and ineffective enforcement jeopardized by weak institutional arrangements places a heavy burden on the continent’s youths and most productive workforce.
Held on November 19 to 21, 2012, the workshop called for focus on road safety as one of the crucial priority area in Africa’s broader development issues.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi