The number of people who died in traffic incidents in Africa rose by 17% in the past decade, despite global road traffic deaths falling by 5%, according to the World Health Organization.
The Road Safety report found that nearly one in five fatal traffic incidents across the world occurred in Africa. “Part of the reason for increased fatalities in Africa is the increase in the number of vehicles on the roads,” said Nhan Tran, leader of WHO’s safety and mobility unit and the lead author of the report. “People who were not able to afford a vehicle 10 or 20 years ago can now buy one. Africa has seen a big increase in motorization, but the infrastructure to facilitate it is not there.”
Experts say a big increase in the number of motorbikes is partly to blame for the rise in road deaths. In eastern Africa, motorbike taxis – called boda boda, piki piki or moto – have become increasingly popular, filling the gaps in public transport.