Supporting the Work of the African Road Safety Observatory
As part of an agreement with the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), Total Foundation will be supporting the African Road Safety Observatory by helping to implement a range of training programs targeting different local stakeholders, including policymakers, police forces, NGOs and journalists.
According to the World Health Organization’s latest report, Africa remains the region with the highest road-accident fatality rate in the world. Road accidents are also the number one cause of death among young people aged 5 to 29.
The African Road Safety Observatory (ARSO) was created in 2018 as part of the projects supported by the FIA High Level Panel, whose members include Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Total. Supported by the African Union, the Observatory held its first General Assembly in June 2019 in Durban, South Africa.
The Observatory’s mission is to encourage a coordinated effort on the part of African countries to ensure greater road safety. In particular, it aims to collect, analyze and share data to provide a better understanding of the risk factors and to develop effective solutions for reducing the number of accidents across the continent.
Training programs offered by the GRSF will aim to improve the understanding of the challenges faced, as well as strengthen the skills and commitment of all stakeholders, to support the use of data collection and analysis tools on the ground. The goal is to enable decision-making based on reliable information, while fostering collaboration across the continent.
When the agreement was announced, Manoelle Lepoutre, Senior Vice President, Civil Society Engagement, said: “With the African Road Safety Observatory, Total Foundation continues its commitment to advance road safety. Total is a major player on the continent, widely present on its roads. For this reason, we wish to provide support to (...) fight this scourge more effectively. We are convinced that it is through partnerships like this one, which involve governments, institutions, experts and the private sector, that we can significantly reduce the number of road traffic deaths.”
Total Foundation will pledge €1 million over five years to support this initiative. Training programs will be provided in the six countries driving the achievement of the Observatory’s goals.
4 questions to Soames Job
Global Lead Road Safety, and Head of the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF)
What is the urgency regarding road safety in Africa?
Africa’s losses and suffering from road crashes are more serious than for any other continent. In Africa there are over 26 road deaths per 100,000 people each and every year, compared with a global average of 18 per 100,000. The world’s best performing countries have below 3 deaths per 100,000. This is not only a human and social disaster, it also slows down economic growth in African countries.
What is the current situation in Africa in terms of road safety data analytics and data usage?
Crash data and other data related to road safety are not effectively collected and used in most countries in Africa. Based on WHO estimates, in some countries more than 80% of crash deaths are not included in official statistics. Without sound data, the extent of the problem is not appreciated, appropriate resources are not allocated, and the nature of the problem may be misunderstood. This can lead to wasting scarce funds on inefficient interventions that do not effectively tackle major safety challenges in African countries.
Why is it a priority to expand the use of data?
Effective use of sound data generates powerful opportunities to save lives and avoid injuries. Resources can be allocated on a sound evidence base; advocacy can be better informed and more effective; the selection of interventions to address road safety can be more accurately targeted to the real nature of the problem; and serious crash locations (black spots) can be accurately identified from crash data for effective treatment.
How will the support of Total Foundation make the difference?
Total Foundation funding will be used by GRSF to improve understanding of the value of good data, and to increase the capacity of African countries for road safety data collection, analysis, and usage in the development of road safety projects and policies. Total Foundation funding will support buildup of a professional group of data specialists, including among academics and NGOs. It will also facilitate networking among road safety professionals capable of using data and exchanging good practices for maximizing road safety benefits. All this will help to increase funding of road safety as well as allowing the most effective use of available funding and resources, saving lives and preventing serious injuries in Africa.