African countries urged to partner over high transport cost
Worried by the high cost of transportation in the African region, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has called for a closer integration among countries in the region to reduce high transportation within the continent.
Osinbajo, who raised concern during the General Assembly of the Sub Sahara Africa Transport Policy Programme (SSATP) in Abuja, noted that Africa transport cost is high and the continent needs to be better integrated for trade and economic progress.
Expressing worry over the cumbersome nature of air travel within African continent, he said the only solution to reducing cost of transportation was for all other countries to join the SSATP, so that the continent can have an integrated transport system.
He also raised concern over the high rate of death despite the small vehicle fleet compared to the rest of the world, adding that African rate of urbanisation and its effect on urban mobility is rapid and unprecedented.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, harped on the need for the conference to begin to reshape the mindset of the engineering teams and decision makers to consider transport as one of the grand solutions to ensure safety, mobility and gender issues.He further stressed the need to bring gender considerations into the design of transport system, adding that bringing women into decision making process and operation would further ensure that both men and women would reap the gain that the sector provides.
The VP also sought the harmonization of rail, road and water transportation such that it is people friendly in line with the modality of transport management.He noted that the conference would strengthen partnerships, build synergies, provide platform for cross-fertilisation of ideas, knowledge and experiences among participating countries and organisation.
The World Bank Country Director to Nigeria, Machid Ibenmoss, bemoaned the high fatality rate in Africa saying the figure has increased from 24 fatalities to 100,000 person in 2010 to 26.6 fatalities per 100,000 people in 2013.He pointed out that between 1990-2013 there has been 89 per cent increase in the number of road injuries death, 72 per cent increase in pedestrian death, 93percent increase in motorcycle death and 79 percent increase in cyclist death.
He noted that achieving smart mobility in Africa would require sustain accessibility of ICT, investment in infrastructures and skills, integrated public policies and coordination with other sectors.He commended the SSATP for supporting member countries towards addressing transport sector challenges through formulation of appropriate policies, strategies, adequate institutions and building capacities.
He pledged that government would fast track the implementation of all the transport related treaties, conventions, protocols and agreement that have been signed adding that government was working with United Nation Agencies, transport and petroleum agencies to promote clean air and curtail fuel emission from vehicles and also sign the 1998 convention on road signs and signals to ensure safe road safety for users.
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