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Information Minister Opens West Africa Road Safety Conference

By: Zacharia Jalloh,Strategic Communications Unit,MIC.

The Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, has on behalf of the Honourable Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the West Africa Road Safety Organization (WARSO) Conference on the 4th of October 2021 at the Bintumani Conference Centre, Aberdeen, Freetown.

The conference runs from the 4th to 8th October 2021 with the Theme:”mainstreaming Road Safety in West Africa through Regional Integration”.

WARSO is a regional Road Safety organization comprising all the 16 West African nations.

Sierra Leone is for the third time hosting the significant regional event, the first being in 2010 followed by 2014 and now 2021.

The conference brings together member states to discuss and map out strategies to curb road accidents and minimize the loss of lives on the road.

In his keynote address, Information and Communications Minister, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, formally welcomed the President of the West Africa Road Safety Organization (WARSO), delegates from the sub-region, representatives from the ECOWAS secretariat, local participants and invited guests, not excluding the media.

He said that Sierra Leone was pleased to host experts in road safety from around the sub-region to discuss the progress and challenges relevant to Global Road Safety Target 2021-2030, implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in West Africa, and the various instruments/legal framework and conventions on Road Safety, including the UN Road Safety Convention.

The Minister described Road Safety as a global concern, the reason why he said in November 2017 the UN General Assembly by consensus ratified the Global Road Safety Performance Target.

“Sierra Leone reaffirms her commitment to the attainment of the 12 Global Road Safety Targets by 2030. Sierra Leone has shown a clear signal of commitment to the attainment of the global road safety performance indicators. We have enacted laws and regulations aimed at ensuring the safety and security of road users and enhancing response mechanism in the event of road crashes/accidents. It is commendable that Sierra Leone is among few countries in West Africa with an established Road Safety Authority. The Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority encompasses road safety recognized as a global public health menace, as part of its core statutory mandate,” Minister Swaray elucidated.

Concluding, the Minister reiterated government’s continued commitment to signing, ratifying and domesticating continental and global road safety instruments and to meeting the 2030 Global Road Safety Target.

He wished his audience fruitful delibeations throughout the conference and implored them to explore the beautiful city of Freetown and savor the ambiance at its white sandy beaches, colorful local culture, tasty cuisine and hospitable people.

The Executive Secretary of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, Ibrahim Sannoh, in his brief statement expressed delight at hosting the conference and looked forward to progressive deliberations.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Honourable Ambrose Maada Lebbie, spoke about the many avoidable deaths caused by road accidents due to reckless driving, drunk drivers and other road negligence.

The President of WARSO, Madam Diadji Sacko from Mali, on her part spoke on regional integration and the plans for regional Road Safety inclusivity.

She stated that amidst the challenges of Covid-19, the organization is poised to work in the interest of all member states.

Other speakers emphasized the need to pay attention to Road Safety as many homes have been rendered poor due to the demise of their breadwinners through road accidents.

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