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IRF Geneva takes centre stage at the 1st Africa Road Safety Forum

First publishedin World Highways
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Africa has 2% of the world’s cars but 16% of the world’s road deaths, and more than 300,000 people lose their lives in road traffic crashes in the region every year, while thousands more are injured. Against this background the 1st Africa Road Safety Forum was organised in Marrakech, Morocco on 13-15 November. The event had the support of IRF (Geneva) and provided an opportunity to present the newly created IRF Global Road Data Warehouse and to mark the establishment of an IRF Africa.

The event was placed under the patronage of HM King Mohammed VI. The Continental Forum was initiated by the Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water, the National Committee for the Prevention of Traffic Accidents (CNPAC) and the Transport Policy Program in Africa (SSATP), under the theme "Road Safety in Africa, a factor of sustainable development", and was particularly marked by the announcement of the creation of the African Observatory on Road Safety, of which the presidency has been entrusted to Morocco.

Susanna Zammataro, IRF director general spoke in the opening ceremony of the Forum in front of an audience of ministers, senior officials, representatives of continental and international institutions, government agencies and civil society from 70 countries, including 45 from the African continent. She said, “Significant and sustained improvements in road safety require taking a long-term view and approach which can only be developed based on good data. Without reliable data, we cannot put in place effective policies and interventions. It is fundamental that data on all aspects of a Safe System are properly collected and analysed. This is the only way for us to better see, better understand and better address the problem.”

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IRF Geneva hosted a workshop during the Forum to specifically present the new IRF Global Road Data Warehouse being developed thanks to the generous support of the Total Foundation and as our contribution to Road Safety Observatories. It is a multi-function online data platform - hosting for the moment – all the World Road Statistics produced by the IRF over the past 54 years. It is complemented with a series of country and regional dashboards that will help visualise the information and also perform comparative analysis. Besides making robust data available to countries and the Observatory, other expected benefits are: enhanced analysis, communication and advocacy; support to capacity building efforts at all levels; increased collaboration and coordination by providing the opportunity to integrate different datasets.

Commenting at the closing ceremony, Susanna Zammataro said, “We whole- heartedly welcome the establishment of an African Road Safety Observatory and commend all the parties involved for achieving this important result in such a short period of time. To translate will into action everyone’s contribution is necessary and collaboration is the only way forward. With its 54 years of experience in collecting data, its 70 years of engagement in road safety and in Africa, with its involvement in the SaferAfrica project, IRF is a natural partner of the Observatory”.

IRF (Geneva) also announced reinforcement of its presence and action in Africa through the establishment of an IRF Africa with the mission to further reinforce and instigate coordination and collaboration in the continent.

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