ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- The African continent, which is the least motorized region in the world, has the highest road traffic fatality rates in the world as 650 people are estimated to be killed by road accidents every day, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said on Monday.
As the African continent on Monday kicked off the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA 2019) week from November 25 to 29, the continent has been urged to tackle the growing brunt of road accidents that killed hundreds of Africans every day.
"Africa has the highest road traffic fatality rates in the world. Some 650 people are estimated to be killed by road accidents every day, yet the continent is the least motorized region, with only 2.3 percent of the world's vehicles," the ECA said in a statement issued on Monday in line with the commemoration of PIDA 2019 week.
According to figures from the ECA, at least half of the road accidents across the continent involve vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Robert Lisinge, Chief of ECA's Energy, Infrastructure and Services Section, also urged African governments "to urgently tackle the risk of road traffic deaths, including the use of new technologies for improving infrastructure and traffic management."
The ECA's energy, infrastructure and services chief also commended African transport ministers as they adopted the post-2020 continental strategy for road safety.
The ECA, which previously organized several high-level road safety events, bringing together various stakeholders to brainstorm on road safety challenges and opportunities, also stressed that the post-2020 Strategy for Road Safety "will ensure the continuation of the continental Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020."
African Union (AU) Commission Director of Infrastructure and Energy, Cheikh Bedda, also stressed that the 55-member pan African bloc will soon convene a meeting of all African road safety ministers "to discuss the common position of the continent and action plan for the upcoming decade that will halt road traffic injuries and deaths."
That plan will be submitted during the global meeting of the Ministers of the Road Safety in February 2020 in Stockholm, Sweden.
The overall goal of PIDA is to promote socio-economic development and poverty reduction in Africa through improved access to integrated regional and continental infrastructure networks and services.
Recent figures from the United Nations show that "unless immediate and effective action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death in the world, resulting in an estimated 2.4 million deaths each year."
"Contributing directly to AU's Agenda 2063, PIDA aims to interconnect the continent in the areas of transport, energy, information and communications technology and trans-boundary water management," according to the AU.