Accra-Ghana — African road infrastructure and road safety experts have been urged to recommend "pragmatic and implementable action plans" for achieving an "ambitious" plan to harmonise the standards for the Trans African Highway and improve road safety.
The experts are scheduled to validate the intergovernmental agreement on the trans-African Highway and a road safety charter during a three day workshop which opened on Tuesday, 4th June 2013 in Accra, Ghana's capital.
The 57,233 km Trans-African Highway network connects the capitals of Member States and the main production and consumption centres in order to promote greater physical, social, political and economic cohesion among the peoples of the continent.
"It is my humble wish that this validation workshop comes up with pragmatic and implementable action plan for achieving this ambitious yet important task," ECOWAS Commission President, His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouédraogo said.
The ECOWAS boss pledged the Commission's support for the plan reflecting the region's appreciation of the value of such infrastructure for realising its mandate and the need to ensure its protection.
In this regard, he said that ECOWAS has taken the lead by adopting in 2012, a Supplementary Act to harmonise standards and procedures for the control of dimensions, weight and axle load of heavy vehicles within Member States.
“When fully implemented, this Act is expected, to protect investments made with the construction of our road infrastructure and reduce traffic fatalities," the President said in the speech read by Mr David Kamara, the Director of Transport and Telecommunications at the Commission.
In an earlier speech, the Director of Infrastructure and Energy at the AU Commission, Mr Aboubakari Baba-Moussa said the ongoing process was in response to a 2011 decision by African minsters of transport in Luanda for the institution of a mechanism for addressing the two issues.
Describing the workshop as constituting "an important occasion of responsibility and commitment for leading our continent on a resolute path towards inclusive transformation and credible development," the Director said the outcome will be presented to the ministers of transport meeting to be held in Malabo in November 2013.The intergovernmental Agreement on the standards and norms will also guide the transport sector projects under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA)
Besides improving road safety in the Continent where the value of losses associated with road traffic accidents is about 2 per cent of the continent's GDP, the Charter is also expected to result in the creation of a road safety architecture that will address all the components of road safety being education, engineering, enforcement, Environment and Emergency Care as well as the creation of a data base of accidents.
The government of Ghana was represented at the opening by Mr Nii Nikoi Amasa, ,the Corporate Monitoring Manager of the country's harbour authority, who ,stressed the value of,the documents to improving Africa's road infrastructure and saving valuable lives and assured of Ghana's commitment to implement the documents once adopted.