Transport Minister urges ECOWAS to reduce road fatalities

The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori-Asiamah, has called for stronger and harmonised efforts in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to reduce the region’s road fatalities —one of the highest in the world.

He said road fatalities in the region were about 27 persons per 100,000 population compared to the world average of about 18 deaths per 100,000 population despite the region having fewer motor vehicles.

“The multi-sectorial nature of road safety makes it very complex for achieving results without collaboration from stakeholders,” he said yesterday in Accra at the opening of a two-day regional sensitisation workshop on road safety.

Participants, including road safety experts, country representatives, regional bodies and international partners, would deliberate on the implementation of the new Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Road Safety Policy, Charter and Action Plan.

The documents, approved at the 60th summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on December 12, 2021, are expected to provide a coordinated platform for ECOWAS and Member States to work towards the reduction of fatalities at the national and regional levels.

The intervention also constitutes ECOWAS’ response to the United Nations Second Decade of Action for Road Safety with the global goal to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by at least 50 per cent by 2030.

According to MrOfori-Asiamah, the workshop was an opportunity for member states to draw up concrete plans and timelines for the implementation of the activities in the documents.

“For us in Ghana, we are being guided by the fact that safer and efficient mobility systems have a direct impact on our national economies. For this reason, we remain committed to the promotion of road safety in the country,” he said.

The Minister said apart from strengthening the capacity of the lead road safety agency to ensure compliance with safety standards; the Road Traffic Act and Regulations was under review to reflect changes and emerging, and the third strategy for road safety management had been developed.

The Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy, and Digitalisation, ECOWAS Commission, SedikoDouka, in a speech read on his behalf, expressed concern about the fatalities, referencing the World Health Organisation data which puts the annual average at 6,000.

He also underscored the need for stronger collaboration and called on development partners to make available all the needed technical and financial support to ensure effective implementation of the documents.

The Director of Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission (AUC) DrKazauraKamugisha, in a speech read on his behalf said only five countries had ratified the document, and urged member states to demonstrate their commitment to the collaboration.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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