Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister of Transport, has called on African cities to strengthen partnership to attain credible data for effective road safety management.
He said it was important for the cities to engage their strategic partners in the areas of technology, data management, traffic laws enforcement practices and post-crash care to help identify, diagnose and prescribe cost effective measures for safer roads.
Mr Asiamah made the call when he delivered the opening address at a three-day Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety Regional Partner Meeting for Africa in Accra on Wednesday.
The meeting is being attended by 104 participants from various road safety affiliations was aimed at sharing information on experiences and lessons of respective cities.
It would also help identify issues that are peculiar to the cities and develop common strategies to address them.
The Minister disclosed that now, Ghana is developing a Road Accidents Data Management Systems to enable the country adequately to capture, store and use data to inform policy.
“It is my hope that, countries that have not developed such systems would also be encouraged to do so with assistance from the Bloomberg Initiative. Road safety is multi-sectorial and require stronger collaboration and sustainable financing to make real progress,”
He said according to a report by the Africa Transport Policy Programme, six lives are lost daily per 100,000 lives in Africa, and that this equates to 650 fatalities per day, with vulnerable road users like motorcyclists, pedestrians, and cyclists accounting for nearly half of them.
“The socioeconomic effects of traffic accidents and related injuries not only hinders the development of the continent but also have a negative impact on the livelihood of many families.
“We can only change these worrying statistics, if we recognise the shared and collective responsibilities of stakeholders and equipping them with the needed resources both technical and financial to implement best practice intervention that reduces traffic crashes and save lives.
“We need to take steps to bring the different sectors together to overcome the road safety challenges,” Mr Asiamah stated.
He expressed gratitude to Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) for its contribution toward road safety and for choosing Ghana as the host for the first Regional Partner Meeting.
Mrs Elizabeth Kwatsoe Sackey, the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, said governments around the world recognising the problems of road accidents have unanimously declared through the UN General Assembly a Second Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 with the target of reducing road deaths and injuries by at least 50 per cent during the period.
“As we pursue this path, it is critical that we at the forefront of governmental and non-governmental road safety stakeholder institutions redouble our efforts to ensure political commitment and responsibility for acting on road safety,” she stated
Mrs Sackey said the AMA-BIGRS initiative was using four strands of expertise in the areas of Safer Streets and Mobility, Communications, Surveillance and Enforcement and that since the inception of the initiatives several successes have been chalked.
“By undertaking such initiatives, we envision Accra will becoming a city that does not only plan for today’s residents and current context, but one that anticipates future growth, challenges, and is prepared for future unknown social, environmental, and physical risks that our city may face,” she said.
The Chief Executive lauded the BIGRS and other partners for supporting the city of Accra in the area of road safety.
Commissioner Francis Ebenezer Doku, the Director General of the Motor Transport and Traffic Directorate of the Ghana Police Service, said road safety was a collaborative effort and urged the stakeholders to join forces to get the synergies required to curb the carnage on the road.
“Posterity will not forgive you and I, if we fail to deliver on our collective mandate. Let us forge a greater collaboration for improved road safety,” he stated.