African experts urged to harmonize standard of Trans African Highway

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - 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 in Accra, the Ghanaian capital.

In his message to the workshop, the ECOWAS Commission President, Kadre Desire Ouédraogo, said: "It is my humble wish that this validation workshop comes up with pragmatic and implementable action plan for achieving this ambitious, yet important task."

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.

He said that "In this regard, 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, Angola, 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," Baba-Moussa 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 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.
-0- PANA PR/VAO 5June2013

05 june 2013 19:13:00

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