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UN Special Envoy visit Ethiopia to promote road safety

UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt, has visited Ethiopia as part of his visit to East and Southern Africa aimed to advocate the effective implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, which aims to halve the number of victims on the road by 2030.
In his three day visit from May 29-31, the special envoy met with senior government officials and representatives of the public, private sector and the civil society with visits made to health and training centers.

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

According to the World Bank, the mortality rate due to car accident in Ethiopia is 28 per 100,000 inhabitants. The ageing of the vehicle fleet and public transport, false licenses, lack of enforcement of penalties and the lack of seriousness of technical inspections are also major causes of road crashes. Used cars constitute over 85% of the vehicle fleet in Ethiopia, many of which are not equipped with basic safety features. In addition to the human tragedy, road crashes trap countries into a vicious circle of poverty. According to the World Bank, the cost of road crashes represents 8,8% of Ethiopia’s annual GDP.
The purpose of the mission is also said to assess progress after the United Nations Road Safety Performance Reviews (RSPR) of Ethiopia (2020) which are strongly supported by the Special Envoy to assist the government in identifying the most fundamental road safety priority needs and to offer recommendations to strengthen road safety management capacities.
“The majority of road traffic deaths occur in Africa and the first victims are young people. As projections say that by 2050, at least one in every three births will be in Africa, accelerated and strategic action by stakeholders and governments is essential,” cited the Special Envoy.
Globally, Africa accounts for about 25% of the number of road crash victims, while the continent has barely 2% of the world’s vehicle fleet. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region most affected, with a fatality rate of 27/100,000 inhabitants, three times higher than the European average of 9/100,000 while the world average is 18/100,000.
As indicated, the core solutions to address road safety at the country level fall under the safe systems approach, which considers improved management, safer roads, vehicles and road users, as well as better post-crash response.
The Special Envoy is also said to visit Kenya on June 1-5 and Zimbabwe on June 6-8.


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