NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 – Oil marketer Total and the World Bank have announced a major road safety initiative which aims at reducing the number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists who die on roads in the EA region every day.
Total Regional Project Coordinator Joseph Adewa said it is estimated that the East African region loses up to five percent of its GDP to road mishaps which is more than the infrastructure aid received.
"Around one to five percent is lost in Gross Domestic Product in the region. That\’s the general figure that we have, and that not only includes humans, but also equipment, destruction of roads and many other factors that have been taken into consideration. If a family loses a bread winner, you can imagine the impact it has on the economy," said Mr Adewa.
The African Road Safety Corridor Initiative (ARSCI) will cover the transit corridor of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
"There are very many things happening in East Africa. With the integration (EAC) process going on between the member states of the community, you are going to have a number of things that will develop and help enhance the regional economy. We have seen an influx in terms of investments going into Uganda and Tanzania, and now with the oil having being struck in Uganda, you can expect a lot more development there (Uganda) and in the region," he said.
World Bank head of communications Peter Warutere noted that road safety is a development issue that needs public and private sector attention. "The African Road Safety Corridor Initiative is a welcome step which will enhance the capacity of East African states in addressing one of the major challenges of the road sector."
The initiative will initially focus on the Mombasa-Kampala northern corridor which records the highest number of road accident fatalities in the region.
The initiative follows the 2007 Accra Declaration by African ministers of Transport who resolved to reduce the number of road fatalities by 50 percent by 2015.
The official launch will be conducted simultaneously in Kenya and Uganda at the Malaba border town on April 27, 2011.
During the launch, road users will be educated on general traffic rules, observance of road signs, discipline and courtesy on the roads. School children will also be given information on road safety as they are major casualties of road accidents.
It is estimated that road accidents are the number two cause of death for children aged between four and 15 years. 80 percent of accidents are due to human error.
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