Unveiling Africa's Road Safety Commitment: Reflections from Marrakech

Marrakech Morocco September 25, 2023 - September 26, 2023 Road Safety


The second Kofi Annan Road Safety Award Ceremony was held on September 25-26, 2023, in the vibrant city of Marrakech, Morocco. Organized by the Ministry of Transport and Logistics of Morocco, the National Road Safety Agency (NARSA), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety and the Kofi Annan Foundation, the two-day event was attended by high-level political leaders, senior road safety officials, the transport ministries of Cameroon, Benin, Kingdom of Lesotho, and representatives from various civil society organizations and agencies working on road safety across the globe.

With the central theme of leveraging “Digital Transformations and Innovations for Safer Roads,” the event brought attention to the critical issue of road safety and the innovative measures being taken to address it across Africa. The event featured numerous sessions and side-events focused on leveraging technology for better road safety management, exploring topics such as digital transformation and new technologies as enables of the second UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2021-2030), drone technologies for crash prevention, and the automation and digitalization of driving license tests. Veronica Raffo, Senior Infrastructure Specialist and Program Leader at the World Bank, shared insights on mobilizing private capital for road safety financing, underlining the importance of innovative funding mechanisms.

A highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the Kofi Annan Road Safety Award, which recognized exemplary contributions to road safety in Africa. This edition recognized African governments that have implemented tangible measures to achieve the objectives of the second UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 and the African Road Safety Charter, aiming to halve road deaths by 2030. Awardees included Cameroon for its effective communication strategy, Ethiopia for its pedestrian-focused public transportation system, Cote d’Ivoire for its innovative use of technology to improve road safety management, the Kingdom of Eswatini for the role of institutions in improved road safety management, Benin for its well-organized management of road safety data, Rwanda for adopting measures towards safer vehicles, and the Kingdom of Morocco, which received the Road Safety Honor Award for its steadfast commitment to enhancing road safety.

Furthermore, as part of its commitment to supporting the African Road Safety Observatory (ARSO) and advancing road safety in the continent, the Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP) sponsored the participation of ARSO Transitional Steering Committee (TSC) members to the Awards Ceremony. On the sidelines of the main event, SSATP in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) co-chaired discussions on ARSO's work plan, financing options, and measures to fast track the signing and adoption of the Africa Road Safety Charter (ARSC) by the remaining three countries. This is necessary to meet the requirement of having a minimum of 15 countries adopt the ARSC for ARSO to become a specialized agency under the AUC.

Ultimately, the 2023 Kofi Annan Road Safety Award ceremony served as a platform for stakeholders to exchange knowledge, showcase best practices, and reaffirm their resolve to strengthen road safety in Africa. It not only celebrated achievements but also galvanized renewed commitment and collaboration towards a safer, more sustainable future for road users across the African continent. The AUC affirmed its commitment to using all available political and diplomatic means to ensure that the process of adopting the ARSC is completed before June 2024, and SSATP confirmed its ongoing support to ARSO until it is institutionalized under the AUC.