Africa

Africa: UN Special Envoy for Road Safety Launches Global Campaign in Côte d’Ivoire


Geneva — The United Nations Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt, has launched the UN Global Campaign for Road Safety for the first time in Africa, in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire, aimed at a continent with some of the world’s most dangerous roads.

Todt visited the West African country from Feb. 29 to March 3 to support national authorities’ road safety initiatives along with the launch of the global campaign.

“Africa is the continent most affected by road accidents,” said Todt in a statement.

“Yet, we have the prescription to end the carnage on our roads. Therefore, I call on national and local authorities, international partners, civil society, and every citizen to take action to bring about an essential change so that road safety becomes a priority for everyone.”

Under the slogan “#MakeASafetyStatement,” the campaign brings together celebrities worldwide, including former Ivorian football star Didier Drogba and Senegalese singer, songwriter, and musician Youssou N’Dour.

‘Adopt simple rules’

They want to encourage road users to adopt simple, effective rules to keep their roads safe.

Todt’s visit coincided with the recent release of the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2023 from the World Health Organization (WHO) on road safety, highlighting that Africa remains the region most affected by this tragedy.

According to the new WHO report, the figures for victims on African roads continue to grow, with a mortality rate of 19 per 100,000 people, against 7 for every 100,000 people in Europe.

In Côte d’Ivoire, there are 21 deaths per 100,000 people. Road crashes are also the primary cause of death among young people aged 5 to 29.

According to the World Bank, road crash costs represent 7.8% of Ivory Coast’s GDP.

During his previous visit to Côte d’Ivoire in May 2023, Todt and Transport Minister Amadou Koné undertook to step up road safety awareness initiatives.

The launch of the UN campaign in Africa on March 2 and 3 is part of efforts to raise public awareness of life-saving gestures on the road.

“This awareness-raising effort will cover the whole of Côte d’Ivoire. “Thanks to a global partnership with JCDecaux, the campaign will appear on billboards and in public places in around 1,000 cities in 80 countries by the end of 2025,” said the campaign organizers.

This campaign aims to raise awareness among national and local authorities, international partners active in West Africa, and the general public, especially young people, on the need to invest more in road safety.

It aims to bring about a radical change by making mobility and safety issues central to everyone’s daily concerns

    First of kind in Africa

The event is an essential step taken by the Ivorian authorities, demonstrating a commitment at the national level to implement the national “Stop recklessness on the roads” campaign and promote international leadership by inviting other countries in the region to invest more in road safety.

“Collecting accident data is an important step towards a more informed and targeted approach to road safety. Accurate, up-to-date data is essential for understanding trends, identifying hotspots, and developing policies based on solid evidence”, Amadou Koné, the Côte d’Ivoire transport minister, stressed.

Recent bus accidents in Côte d’Ivoire have highlighted the run-down state of Africa’s vehicle fleet.

The campaign organizers say that failure to comply with the Highway Code and enforce penalties are significant causes of accidents.  #



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