Yaounde, 22 August 2018
Cameroon records an average of 16,583 road accidents each year, killing more than 1,000 people, according to official figures, and over 6000 according to World Health Organization estimates. This human cost is dramatic. It is therefore urgent for Cameroon to redouble its efforts to improve the road safety situation. These are the main findings of Cameroon’s Road Safety Performance Review (RSPR), presented at a national workshop on road safety held in Yaoundé on 23 and 24 August 2018, in the context of follow up for the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety.
The Review, conducted by the Ministry of Transport under the supervision of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), presents a holistic analysis of the country’s road safety progress and challenges.
The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Mr Jean Todt, presented in Yaoundé today the Road Safety Performance Review of Cameroon, which provides an analysis of progress and challenges in the country’s road safety. Cameroon is the second African country to benefit from this expertise, following Uganda. He urged stakeholders in the country to strengthen their efforts in these terms: “This Review shows real political will of Cameroon’s authorities to improve the situation, but it also identifies key challenges that must be overcome. By analysing all factors in order to propose priority actions, these Reviews, which we are undertaking at the request of governments, can provide vital support for improving road safety at national level.”
Cameroon’s Minister of Transport H.E Jean Ernest Masséna Ngalle Bibehe, reaffirmed the country’s political will in the fight against road accidents: “…we commit to the progressive implementation of these recommendations, with, in priority, reinforcing coordination through the establishment of an independent operational organism as well as consultative and expert bodies; strengthening enforcement and improving legislation, including the integration of the United Nations legal instruments, which already inspire all national and regional texts in force in Cameroon; improving the safety of the vehicle fleet through its renewal; pursing the reform of the procedure to obtain and be awarded a driving licence, and intensifying awareness-raising.”
Minister Nganou Djoumessi of Public Works declared that 41,5% of Cameroon’s road network is in a good state, adding that the government’s objective is to reduce the number of road accidents to 50% by 2020.
UN Resident Coordinator; Allegra Baiocchi said that a reduction in the number of the wounded and deaths on the highway will accelerate sustainable growth and prevent families from going through the many physical and psychological sufferings.
The country’s road network, which accounts for 85 per cent of transport in the country, suffers, among other problems, from a lack of signalling and markings, cracks, potholes, poor rainwater drainage, lack of sidewalks and cycle paths, and disorderly parking.
Significant resources have been mobilized for the development of safety measures through the country’s Road Fund, which has contributed nearly 2.5 billion CFA francs per year since 2013. However, these resources have not been used effectively and efficiently, sometimes because of the rigid eligibility conditions of the measures to be financed. Consequently, the RSPR recommends a more appropriate use of Road Fund resources, which would be enriched by increased mobilisation of the private sector to finance road safety initiatives.
To be effective on the ground, efforts to improve safety on the roads must involve diverse actors in Cameroon. The RSPR therefore highlights the need to develop and put in place partnership frameworks to enable the private sector and civil society to become more actively involved.