Yesterday Ghana hosted the inaugural Kofi Annan Road Safety Award for Africa in Accra.

With the theme of the webinar “Safer and Cleaner Vehicles in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities in the Second United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety (2021-2030)”, the ceremony was organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Secretariat of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Road Safety and the Ministry of Transport of Ghana, with the support of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

The Kofi Annan Foundation says the Road Safety Award is named after Mr. Annan to honor his legacy and continue his important work in this area.

Mr. Annan is said to have brought the issue of road safety and road casualties to the agenda of the United Nations in the early 2000s and that, generally speaking, his life’s work focused on the prevention – to prevent conflict, hunger, disease, misery and all kinds of dangers.

The organizers say that at the center of the initiative are working to involve all stakeholders to ensure safety on African roads.

Thus, the main objective of the Prize is to motivate the main stakeholders that are governments, the private sector and civil society organizations, to develop and implement innovative and exceptional initiatives to save lives on African roads. .

Information collected from some sources, including the World Health Organization (WHO), indicates that when it comes to road accidents, Africa pays the heaviest price in terms of fatalities at 26.6 road deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to a global average of 17.5 per 100,000 and 9.3 per 100,000 in Europe.

The WHO states, for example, that a child in Africa is twice as likely to die on the road as a child in any other part of the world, making it crucial to redouble efforts on the continent. African to ensure mental health on the road.

A 2016 WHO report contains the damning assertion that Ghana is among the countries that report a high prevalence of road fatalities, with 24.9 per 100,000 population and that nearly 2,000 lives are lost in the country each year due to accidents – and pedestrians are particularly at risk.

This is confirmed by a Ghana Police Service report released this year that 2,921 people died and 13,048 were injured in road accidents in 2021 and that from December 24, 2021 to January 1 this year, in the Within just nine days, 43 people died while 202 were injured in road accidents.

Even without going to the police, Ghanaian Times reports from January 5 to March 15 show a total of 54 deaths and over 200 injuries in road accidents this year.

ECA Executive Secretary, Ms. Vera Songwe, said road accidents cost African economies up to 5% of GDP, crippling their potential growth.

Taking Ghana as a specific case, Altmetric.com says Ghana “wastes” more than 1.2 trillion cedis (94 million euros, $128 million) a year in road accidents, or 1.6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). per year.

No one should be blamed for wondering why a first all-Africa road safety event would not take place in Equatorial Guinea or Mauritius, for example, where road safety is praised, but in Ghana, a country with a very poor record in terms of road safety and at one time the carnage on its roads continues to increase.

This need not be far fetched as the man in whose honor the awards were held hailed from this land of gold which failed to make its road safety golden.

In fact, given the high number of fatalities and injuries in road accidents in Ghana, it seems inappropriate to hold such an event here, and more so, at a time when nothing serious seems to be being done in the countries to control bullying behavior. on its roads.

However, upon reflection, the Ghanaian Times believes that the event may trigger a change in the shape of the country that acts together to reverse the tide to ensure safety and reduce or eradicate the carnage on its roads.


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