By VIOLET MENGO
Zambia is the first country in Africa to demonstrate high levels of commitment to road safety, Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga has said.
Mr Mukanga said the World Bank, Southern sub-Saharan Transport Programme and the road safety partnership have acknowledged Zambiaâ€™s commitment to road safety.
The minister was speaking in Lusaka on Monday when he unveiled a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on road safety between his ministry and other line ministries.
â€œGovernment is ready through its decentralised system to implement road safety under the MoU in all the 10 provinces and districts to benefit all people,â€ Mr Mukanga said.
the main purpose of the MoU is to demonstrate collective commitment amongst stakeholders in Government, the private sector and other partners in addressing road safety in a more practical approach to monitor progress on agreed activities.
Mr Mukanga said the high number of road traffic accidents is a clear indication that a more effective approach towards road safety management is required.
He said the MoU calls for collaborative effort amongst all stakeholders in their annual work planning cycle in order to avoid gaps and duplications.
â€œThe proposed plan of involving key stakeholders through the MoU was unanimously viewed as a way of harmonising activities of traffic crashes which emanate from the transport sector, but affect other sectors such as health, justice, education and local government and housing,â€ he said.
The minister said the MoU has been designed to be championed by Government through line ministries and agencies.
Mr Mukanga said, however, that Zambia is still experiencing high road fatalities and injuries.
He said it is sad that over 50 percent of those killed on the roads are vulnerable road users – the pedestrians and cyclists.
World Bank country director Kundhavi Kadiresan expressed concern that Africa has an extremely high rate of road fatalities and very weak road safety management systems and structures.
â€œThe work done by the ministry of transport in conjunction with line ministries is a very important achievement,â€ she said.
By VIOLET MENGO