Leaving no one behind on the road is at the heart of the first Kofi Annan Road Safety Award, launching 16 March 2022 in Accra, Ghana, by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Secretariat of the United-Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, and the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Ghana, with the support of the Kofi Annan Foundation.
The primary objective of the Kofi Annan Road Safety Award is to motivate key stakeholders – governments, private sector, and civil society organisations – to develop and implement innovative and outstanding initiatives to save lives on Africa’s roads.
When it comes to road accidents, Africa pays the heaviest price with the world’s highest fatality rate of 26.6 road deaths per 100,000 population compared to the world average of 17.5 per 100,000 and 9.3 per 100,000 in Europe (WHO).
A child in Africa is twice as likely to die on the road than a child in any other part of the world. It is, therefore, crucial to redouble efforts on the African continent. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Mr Jean Todt, proclaims that “Increasing effective actions to stop the carnage on African roads is imperative if we are to achieve the new Decade of Action for Road Safety, aiming to halve the road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. It is arguably the most affected region on the planet.”
Ghana is among the countries that report a high prevalence of road traffic deaths, with 24.9 per 100,000 inhabitants (WHO 2016). Nearly 2,000 lives are lost in the country each year due to crashes – and pedestrians are particularly at risk.
“Kofi Annan’s life work was all about prevention. Preventing conflicts, preventing hunger, preventing diseases from taking hold. This is why he pushed so hard for progress on road safety, an area where prevention can make such a difference.”
Poor road safety disproportionately affects the most vulnerable; more than 93% of road traffic fatalities occur in low-and middle-income countries. “By awarding initiatives coming from African countries which will have demonstrated their contribution to achieving existing national, regional and international frameworks for road safety, the Kofi Annan Road Safety Award aims to be a catalyst for change for the continent. This change is needed as the cost to African economies are too high, reaching up to 5% of GDP, crippling potential growth,” adds Executive Secretary of ECA, Ms Vera Songwe.
The Kofi Annan Road Safety Award is named after the late Secretary-General and founder of the Kofi Annan Foundation, Kofi Annan in recognition of his contribution to the area of road safety. Mr Annan brought the issue of Road Safety and Road Traffic Victims to the United Nations agenda at the beginning of the 2000s.
“Kofi Annan’s life work was all about prevention. Preventing conflicts, preventing hunger, preventing diseases from taking hold. This is why he pushed so hard for progress on road safety, an area where prevention can make such a difference. The Kofi Annan Foundation is particularly pleased to be associated with this Road Safety Award named to honour his legacy and continue his important work in this field,” explains Elhadj As Sy, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation Board.
More about the Kofi Annan Road Safety Award Ceremony
The Kofi Annan Road Safety Award Ceremony starts at 3 PM and ends at 6.15 PM (UTC) on 16 March. The ceremony will be preceded by a panel discussion at 11 AM (UTC) on “Safer and Cleaner Vehicles in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities in the Second UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2021-2030).”