Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

First African Observatory to Tackle the Continent’s Road Safety Crisis

LEIPZIG, May 23, 2018 – The World Bank, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), and the International Transport Forum (ITF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today to establish the first regional Road Safety Observatory in Africa.

The Observatory will support African countries’ efforts to reduce road transport fatalities by uniting their activities to systematically collect, analyze, and share reliable road crash data. It will also serve as a platform for government officials and road safety experts to exchange knowledge, share best practices, and scale up effective policies across the region.

Improving road safety has emerged as a top development priority for Africa, which has seen the highest rate of road traffic fatalities in the world despite comparatively low levels of motorisation. By providing more comprehensive and accurate data, the new Observatory will help gain better insight into the key risk factors contributing to the region’s road safety crisis, and will give African countries the resources they need to design evidence-based strategies and interventions.

UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Road Safety and FIA President, Jean Todt, said, “By understanding the root causes of traffic injuries and fatalities, policy makers can better evaluate the preventive measures available and make investment in road safety more effective. It is my hope that this joint initiative can create a platform for knowledge sharing amongst African countries.”

José Luis Irigoyen, World Bank Senior Director for Transport and Digital Development, stated, “The World Bank is proud to be a part of this initiative. We are confident that the new Observatory will increase the visibility of the road safety challenge in Africa, enable governments to advance regional collaboration, and leverage synergies among African nations to improve road safety conditions, as the Road Safety Observatory in Latin America (OISEVI) is already doing.”

ITF Secretary-General, Young Tae Kim, said on the occasion of the MoU signing: “Africa has 2% of the world’s cars but 20% of the road deaths. The continent must be empowered to tackle this problem now. Supporting governments in the region to collect, analyze and use quality crash data is a powerful way to direct scarce resources to their most effective use and save more lives.”

The MoU signing was attended by Morocco’s Vice-Minister of Transport, Mr. Mohamed Najib Boulif, whose country has offered to host the Observatory.

The launch of the Observatory was announced on the opening day of the International Transport Forum’s Summit—the world’s largest gathering of transport ministers and policy makers - which this year focuses specifically on transport safety and security.

The MoU follows a resolution signed in February by Benin, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania, confirming their interest in the project. These seven African countries are currently working on finalising the Observatory’s governance structure and funding mechanism.

This initiative benefited from the support of the Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Islamic Development Bank (IDP), Safer Africa and others.

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About the World Bank
The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. Reducing road traffic injuries and deaths is at the core of supporting this agenda and realising the development of human capital. In 2006, the World Bank established the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) funded by external donors to address the growing road safety crisis. The Facility works with international partners to provide funding and technical assistance to scale up low- and middle-income countries’ capacity to implement cost-effective road safety programs.

About FIA
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) is the governing body for world motor sport and the federation of the world’s leading mobility organisations. Founded in 1904, with headquarters in Paris and Geneva, the FIA is a non-profit organisation. It brings together 246 member organisations from 145 countries on five continents. Its Member Clubs represent over 80 million road users and their families. The FIA promotes safe, sustainable and accessible mobility for all road users around the world.

About ITF
The International Transport Forum at the OECD is an intergovernmental organisation with 59 member countries. It acts as a think tank for transport policy and organises the Annual Summit of transport ministers. ITF is the only global body that covers all transport modes. The ITF is administratively integrated with the OECD, yet politically autonomous.


World Bank: 
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Paris: Luca Pascotto –, +33 6 42 69 83 13

Paris: Hans Michael Kloth –, +33 1 45 24 95 96

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