28 May Africa’s treacherous roads are no safer after scores of initiatives – here’s a new grassroots approach
Everyone knows that roads are dangerous, but many people are surprised when they find out just how deadly they can be. As many as 1.4m people are killed every year – about one every 23 seconds – while another 20m to 50m are injured but survive, often with life-changing disabilities. Road traffic collisions are currently the eighth biggest killer in the world.
The vast majority of deaths from these collisions happen in low and middle income countries, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa. They affect productivity, family life and well-being in countries where people are already struggling to survive. Even more startling, these countries have among the lowest ratios of vehicles per person in the world. The impact of road traffic injuries in sub-Saharan Africa is greater than malaria, tuberculosis and – in some countries – HIV/Aids. With the UN’s fifth global road safety week currently underway, things are not getting better.