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The UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Road Safety is visiting Côte d'Ivoire to raise awareness on life saving actions

Road safety Cote d'Ivoire

The United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt, will visit Côte d'Ivoire (29 February - 3 March 2024) to support national authorities' road safety initiatives. In particular, the Special Envoy will launch the United Nations Global Campaign for Road Safety, in partnership with JCDecaux, under the motto #MakeASafetyStatement, to raise awareness on life-saving actions. The launch event is organized on 2 and 3 March 2024 in Bouaké with the Ministry of Transport of the Government the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. 

The Special Envoy will be meeting members of the Government as well as representatives of the private and public sectors and NGOs to advocate for the effective implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, which aims to halve the number of road fatalities by 2030.  

"Africa is the continent most affected by road accidents. Yet, we have the prescription to end the carnage on our roads. I therefore call on national and local authorities as well as 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", underscores the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt. 


During his previous visit to Côte d'Ivoire in May 2023, Special Envoy Jean Todt and Transport Minister Amadou Koné undertook to step up road safety awareness initiatives. The launch of the United Nations Global Campaign for Road Safety - #MakeASafetyStatement - in Africa, on March 2 and 3, is part of this effort 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. 

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 and to bring about a radical change by making mobility and safety issues central to everyone's daily concerns. The launch event, the first of its kind in Africa, should be seen as an essential step taken by the Ivorian authorities, demonstrating not only a commitment at the national level, in line with the national "Stop recklessness on the roads" campaign but also international leadership in inviting other countries in the region to invest more in road safety. 

Under the slogan #MakeASafetyStatement, the campaign brings together celebrities worldwide, including Africans Didier Drogba and Youssou N'Dour, to encourage users to adopt simple, effective rules to keep their roads safe. 

"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", stresses Amadou Koné, Minister of Transport of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. 

New alarming figures 

The Special Envoy’s visit coincides with the recent release of the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2023 from the World Health Organization (WHO) on road safety, which highlights 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 19/100,000 people, versus 7/100,000 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, the cost of road crashes represents 7.8% of Ivory Coast’s GDP

Reliable data for swift revitalization 

Recent bus accidents in Côte d'Ivoire have highlighted the run-down state of Africa's vehicle fleet. Failure to comply with the Highway Code and to enforce penalties are also significant causes of accidents.  

Solutions to be implemented include adhering to the African Road Safety Charter and the United Nations Conventions on Road Safety, strengthening the health services that treat the injured, and stepping up public awareness campaigns. Collecting reliable and systematic data on road accidents and monitoring casualties is also a key element in reducing the number of victims. 

There is also a need to protect the most vulnerable road users, pedestrians, and cyclists, who are often the most disadvantaged and the youngest. Africa has the highest proportion of cyclist and pedestrian deaths, accounting for 44% of all road deaths.  

In Côte d'Ivoire, the efforts of the authorities are to be commended, with new initiatives such as strengthening road safety laws, the creation of a traffic police force (the special road safety police, PSSR) and the adoption of a road safety strategy 2021-2025 aimed at reducing accidents by 25% by 2025.  

This strategy is based on anticipation through new information and communication technologies (NICTs) and public involvement through awareness-raising campaigns. A significant innovation is the digitisation of the issuance of tickets and transport documents and the use of video to sanction offenses.  

As a result, Ivorian Transport Minister Amadou Koné was awarded 1st prize in the most prestigious category (innovation) of the Kofi Annan Road Safety Award last September in Marrakech and became a member of the "Friends of the special envoy" group. 

Risk factors that are too often neglected 

Drink-driving, speeding, drowsiness, carelessness, non-use of seatbelts and helmets, negligence and non-compliance with the Highway Code are responsible for most road accidents in Africa. However, according to the WHO, more progress must be made regarding legislation and safety standards.   

Only six countries in the world have laws that comply with WHO best practices for all the risk factors - speeding, driving under the influence or distracted driving, use of UN-standard motorbike helmets, and use of seatbelts and child restraints. 

In Côte d'Ivoire, speeding in urban areas is a real issue and child restraint systems are not always available. While the use of motorbikes is on the rise, particularly among young people, the wearing of quality helmets, which could prevent many deaths and reduce the risk of serious injury in case of crash by 69%, remains a real challenge. 


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