Road Safety experts from the West African sub-region have commenced the West Africa Road Safety Organization (WARSO) 10th annual General Assembly today October 4, 2021 at the Freetown International Conference Center, Bintumani Hotel Aberdeen, Freetown under the auspices of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority. The Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) was hosting the general assembly of WARSO for the 3rd time (2010, 2014 and 2021). speaking at the opening ceremony of the assembly, the keynote speaker, Minister of Information and Communications Mr. Mohamed Rahman Swaray who represented the Vice President said Sierra Leone was pleased to host experts in Road Safety to discuss progress and challenges relevant to the global Road Safety target 2021-2030 implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the various instruments and conventions on Road Safety.
He pointed out that Road Safety was a global concern and that was why in 2017 the United Nations general assembly by consensus ratified the global Road Safety performance target. Mr. Swaray said, Sierra Leone had shown clear signal of commitment to the attainment of the global Road Safety performance indicators.
He pointed out that, Sierra Leone had enacted laws to enhance the safety and security of Road Users. He disclosed that Sierra Leone was one among the few countries in West Africa with an established Road Safety Authority. The Minister of Information and Communications noted that, the government of Sierra Leone was committed to strengthen the Road Safety agency to reduce Road Traffic crashes in the Country. He assured that, Sierra Leone will do more in not only enacting laws around Road Safety but also working with all key actors in monitoring and ensuring that our Roads are Safe. The Acting Minister of Transport and Aviation Mr. Rex Bhonapha commended WARSO for this year’s theme “Mainstreaming Road Safety in West Africa through Regional Integration”. He said mainstreaming Road Safety in our sub-region reminded the sub-region about the ECOWAS vision 2050 goals. Mr Bhonapha added that, as a government they would ensure that Road Safety issues were placed in the fore–front of sustainable development trajectory. He disclosed that, the government of Sierra Leone was implementing a 50 million dollars project with the objective to enhance the flow of both public and private transportation and had also put together a transport and traffic safety policy.
The Inspector General of Police Dr. Ambrose Sovula who was also a honorary member of WARSO outlined some of his key achievements and emphasized the importance of the SLRSA in not only Road Safety promotion and enforcement but also as a revenue generation institution for government. He assured of his support in the Road Safety promotion at all times.
Mr. David Panda-Noah Minister of Internal Affairs commended the SLRSA for hosting the 10th general assembly of WARSO. He said the conference will bring a lot of Road Safety Education to the country in line with His Excellency’s human capital development agenda. The WARSO President Madam Diadji Sacko disclosed that Road Safety required Regional Integration and intimated that WARSO was established to harmonize national action plans of the countries of the sub-region.
The WARSO President thanked the people and government of Sierra Leone for the hospitality accorded them since their arrival. She emphasized the importance of the conference and encourage all delegates to pay keen attention to the deliberations. Chairman of the Parliamentary oversight committee on Transport Honorable Maada Lebbie disclosed the support of parliament to Road Safety in the Country including legal reforms, upgrading of processes and joint sensitization.
Honorable Lebbie pledge the committee’s support to the SLRSA to work with other parliaments around the sub-region to strengthen Road Safety in not only Sierra Leone but West Africa. Earlier in his welcome address the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority call for the creation of a Presidential task force on Road Safety in line with other countries in the sub-region as Road Safety required high level state intervention to address some of the key challenges. He thanked the delegates and wish them well in their deliberations. The conference will end on Friday October 8, 2021.