23 May 2018

First African Observatory to Tackle the Continent’s Road Safety Crisis

On 23 May, the World Bank, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), and the International Transport Forum (ITF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the first regional Road Safety Observatory in Africa.

The Observatory will support African countries’ efforts to reduce road transport fatalities by uniting their activities to systematically collect, analyze, and share reliable road crash data. It will also serve as a platform for government officials and road safety experts to exchange knowledge, share best practices, and scale up effective policies across the region. Part of the initial funding for this project will be provided by the FIA Foundation and the World Bank.

Improving road safety has emerged as a top development priority for Africa, which has seen the highest rate of road traffic fatalities in the world despite comparatively low levels of motorization. By providing more comprehensive and accurate data, the new Observatory will help gain better insight into the key risk factors contributing to the region’s road safety crisis, and will give African countries the resources they need to design evidence-based strategies and interventions.

FIA President Jean Todt, who also serves as the United Nations Secretary General's Special Envoy for Road Safety, said, “By understanding the root causes of traffic injuries and fatalities, policy makers can better evaluate the preventive measures available and make investment in road safety more effective. It is my hope that this joint initiative can create a platform for knowledge sharing amongst African countries.”

José Luis Irigoyen, World Bank Senior Director for Transport and Digital Development, stated, “The World Bank is proud to be a part of this initiative. We are confident that the new Observatory will increase the visibility of the road safety challenge in Africa, enable governments to advance regional collaboration, and leverage synergies among African nations to improve road safety conditions, as the Road Safety Observatory in Latin America (OISEVI) is already doing.”

ITF Secretary-General, Young Tae Kim, said on the occasion of the MoU signing: “Africa has 2% of the world’s cars but 20% of the road deaths. The continent must be empowered to tackle this problem now. Supporting governments in the region to collect, analyze and use quality crash data is a powerful way to direct scarce resources to their most effective use and save more lives.”

The MoU signing was attended by Morocco’s Vice-Minister of Transport, Mr Mohamed Najib Boulif, whose country has offered to host the Observatory.

The launch of the Observatory was announced on the opening day of the International Transport Forum’s Summit — the world’s largest gathering of transport ministers and policymakers — which this year focuses specifically on transport safety and security.

The MoU follows a resolution signed in February by Benin, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania, confirming their interest for the project. These seven African countries are currently working on finalizing the Observatory’s governance structure and funding mechanism.

This initiative benefited from the support of the Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP), the World Health Organization, the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Islamic Development Bank, Safer Africa and others.


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