SWAKOPMUND – During the commemoration of the 12th Africa Road Safety Day, Namibia’s Works and Transport Minister John Mutorwa called on stakeholders to intensify their efforts in investing in road safety across the African continent. The event, held in Swakopmund on Sunday, served as a platform for addressing the critical issue of road traffic accidents.
According to Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA), he acknowledged the current efforts in road safety but emphasized the need for stakeholders to further invest in making national roads safer. Mutorwa recognized the financial constraints posed by the global economic situation but highlighted the necessity of finding innovative ways to utilize available resources for the improvement of road safety.
The minister pointed out the significant public health challenge posed by road traffic accidents, which he described as an alarming trend. He noted that these accidents not only cause a loss of lives, which exceeds 296,000 annually in Africa, but also have a substantial economic impact, accounting for a loss of three percent of the African Gross Domestic Product. The victims, as Mutorwa stated, are often key contributors to society, including professionals like engineers, doctors, and teachers.
Lieutenant General Joseph Shikongo, Inspector General of the Namibian Police Force, added to the discussion by highlighting the societal neglect of the issue. He mentioned that road traffic deaths and injuries, and the resulting suffering, have been largely overlooked, with non-governmental victim organizations often being the ones to offer support and try to change societal attitudes towards road traffic accidents.
General Shikongo emphasized that every citizen has a role in supporting victims of road traffic accidents and that collaborative efforts are necessary across different sectors. He stressed the importance of a united approach in addressing this critical issue.
The commemoration of Africa Road Safety Day, which was first launched on November 18, 2012, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, aims to remember those lost on national highways and raise awareness about the consequences of traffic-related deaths and injuries. Observed on every third Sunday of November, this day serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenge of road safety in Africa and the collective responsibility to improve it.